Male Northern Goshawk Home Ranges in the Great Basin of South-Central Idaho

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Due to its dependence on mature forests (e.g., Reynolds et al. 1992, Bright-Smith and Mannan 1994, Squires and Ruggiero 1996, Beier and Drennan 1997), and uncertainty regarding its population status, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) have classified the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis; hereafter, “goshawk”) as a Sensitive Species, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) considers the Northern Goshawk a Species of Special Concern. Due to conservation concern, the effects of management actions on this species should be evaluated. However, it is difficult to evaluate management actions, because goshawk spatial-use patterns are poorly understood, especially in naturally fragmented forests of the intermountain west such as southern Idaho and northern Nevada. Currently, most goshawk habitat is managed using guidelines designed for a different (intact forest vs. fragmented) ecosystem in Arizona (Reynolds et al. 1992).

The purpose of our study was to describe goshawk home ranges in a naturally fragmented forest landscape in south-central Idaho. Herein, we describe nesting season home-range characteristics for six radio-tagged adult male Northern Goshawks in south-central Idaho and compare them with home ranges described elsewhere. We chose to study males because they are the primary hunters and food providers for females and young (Reynolds and Meslow 1984), and therefore, have the highest resource requirements during the nesting season. Our objective was to quantify home-range sizes, extent of home-range overlap between neighboring males, and changes in home-range sizes over time for breeding male goshawks.