This was thirteenth year of goshawk inventory and research, and the ninth year of systematic goshawk nest monitoring on Haida Gwaii. Nest monitoring included several visits to each known nest area. If no birds were initially located, goshawk playback surveys were conducted throughout the nest area, and in adjacent areas of suitable habitat (within ~ <2km of the known nest area), to establish if the birds were present and possibly using an alternate nest. In addition, systematic goshawk breeding surveys were also conducted in 21 separate landscapes, which were selected for surveys based on previous goshawk sightings, predicted spacing of territories, and the presence of active harvesting within areas of suitable nesting habitat.
All 13 of the previously known nest areas were monitored. In early spring, during a time when courtship and nest-building is initiated, birds were present in 25% of the nest areas. However, no goshawks bred successfully in any of the monitored nest areas. Birds were detected in 3 (23%) of 13 nest areas during the breeding season, but there was no evidence of chicks in any nests. Independent of this monitoring, and outside of the focal survey areas this summer, a new territory was located by forestry crews working in the Lignite Watershed, near Naden Harbour; and at least 1 chick successfully fledged. This new territory fits with the previously observed spacing pattern, and was located just a kilometer away from a previously designated goshawk management nest area, which was identified by Husby Forest Products Ltd., based on the habitat suitability, and the observed spacing pattern of nest areas Haida Gwaii. The continuing pattern of low nest area reoccupation, low numbers of birds detected on new surveys, and the low number of young fledging per breeding attempt have previously been linked to the impacts of introduced deer and past extensive clearcut harvest practices. In addition to these impacts the evidence now also suggests that goshawks are potentially being negatively impacted by a changing climate. On Haida Gwaii there is an observed trend towards wetter spring weather which, in other areas, is associated with lower nest area reoccupation, and low breeding success. Under these circumstances the potential for the long-term persistence of a sustainable goshawk population across the islands remains in doubt.
To ensure the forest stewardship goals for goshawks continue to be met in the context of a changing climate, it is recommended that the long-term monitoring of goshawk nest areas continues. No other forest dependent species on Haida Gwaii has been so closely monitored throughout this period of change, and continued monitoring therefore provides a unique opportunity to determine if this focal species is being impacted by a changing climate.
In addition, this monitoring should continue to be linked by adaptive management feedback loop to all forest stewardship managers, and to the goshawk Recovery Team, such that we can continue to identify, and manage for nesting and foraging conditions that support goshawks.
Doyle, Frank I.. 2009. Breeding Success of the Goshawk on Haida Gwaii/QCI 2008. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program. Forest Investment Account Report
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), British, Columbia
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