Visitors to the RSPB’s Loch Garten Nature Center in Scotland were able to enjoy live footage of an active goshawk nest at their Abernethy nature reserve.
A camera has been installed in a tree adjacent to the nest and the feed is also being streamed online on the RSPB’s YouTube channel. The camera’s infrared technology means viewers around the world can see what the birds are doing day and night.
Jess Tomes, Abernethy Site Manager for RSPB Scotland People, said: “Visitors to the Nature Center thoroughly enjoy such an intimate look at the goshawks.
“We are also thrilled to be able to share these incredible images with people around the world via our YouTube channel.
“It was fascinating to watch the pair set up their rather bulky nest and to note the differences between them – while we have yet to see the two birds together, we can tell them apart by their different colored eyes.”
Goshawks have a wingspan of around 1.5m and larger females can weigh up to 2kg. Despite their bulk, they are known to be graceful fliers, even in dense forests, where they weave between trees at high speed and capture prey in flight.
For this reason, they are often called “ghosts of the forest”. They were driven to extinction in the UK in the late 19th century before escaped falconry birds restored a population from the 1960s.
The goshawk camera was installed in addition to the long-established osprey camera at Loch Garten and another recently installed near a white-tailed eagle nest in the Cairngorms Connect partnership landscape.
Visitors to the Nature Center can now view live footage of three of Scotland’s most iconic birds of prey in one place.
Fraser Cormack, director of Abernethy RSPB Nature Reserve in Scotland, said: “Goshawks are exactly the type of bird we’d expect to see in a healthy pine forest, so we’re delighted to have them. at Abernethy.
“Although the camera does not allow us to see the cut of the nest, the behavior of the female indicates that she may indeed be on eggs, so it would be wonderful if we could welcome chicks in the coming weeks.
“We have a long-standing tradition of being a home for ospreys at Loch Garten, so hopefully the goshawks will see the same level of success.”
Goshawks often lay three or four eggs which take about 5 to 6 weeks to hatch. The young birds remain in the nest for another 6-7 weeks, depending on their parents for food.
The camera was installed by Wildlife Windows with technical support from External Reality.
Funding was provided by the European Regional Development Fund via NatureScot.