Goshawk DNA (Scotland)

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Adult northern goshawk

Monitoring goshawks using DNA

The northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is a medium-sized raptor that breeds in Holarctic temperate and boreal forests. The indigenous UK population was extirpated by the 1880s. Re-colonisation in the UK occurred in the late 1960s through informal release or escapees from falconers. The current UK population is approx 400-450 pairs.

Our study aims to examine breeder survival and recruitment and population turnover in the Scottish Borders. With the support of fieldworkers from the Forestry Commission, Scottish Raptor Study Group and Northumbria Ringing Group, we are collecting moulted adult feathers from study sites on a yearly basis and DNA samples from the nestlings at these sites.

2009 was our fourth consecutive year of collecting samples from the field. Since the project began in 2006, a total of 561 feathers and DNA samples from nestlings have been collected from 76 unique sites, many of which have been sampled during each year of the study.

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Photo: M. McGrady

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