The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was petitioned in 1997 to consider listing Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis atricapillus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, west of the 100th meridian of the contiguous United States. In their 12-mo finding issued in June 1998, the FWS determined that listing this population as threatened or endangered was not warranted and based that decision on review existing population and habitat information. Because the status of goshawks in the western U.S. continues to be contentious and the FWS finding has been challenged, the Raptor Research Foundation, Inc. and The Wildlife Society jointly formed a committee to review information regarding the status of the goshawk population in the contiguous U.S. west of the 100th meridian. The committee was requested to: (1) determine if there is evidence of a population trend in goshawks in the western U.S., excluding Alaska; (2) determine if there is evidence that goshawks nesting in the eastern and western U.S. represent distinctive, genetically unique populations; and (3) evaluate evidence for goshawk-habitat relations, including any association with large, mostly-unbroken tracts of old growth and mature forests. Based on existing information, the committee concluded: (1) existing data are not adequate to assess population trend in goshawks west of the 100th meridian; (2) existing analyses of phylogeography have not provided evidence of genetic differences among recognized (atricapillus, laingi) or putative (apache) subspecies, and the genetic distinctness of atricapillus goshawks in western and eastern North America is not known; and (3) at present, assessing the status of goshawks solely using distribution of late-successional forests is not appropriate, based on the current understanding of goshawk-habitat relations, although goshawks clearly use and often select late-successional forests for nesting and foraging. We provide recommendations on information needs to assess status and population trend of goshawks in the western U.S. ?? 2005 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.
Additional publication details
Technical review of the status of Northern Goshawks in the western United States