The Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is a species of special concern in the state of Arizona, and breeds in ponderosa pine forests at higher elevations in the state. Habitat management recommendations for the species focus on removal of small-diameter trees, creation of small openings in the forest, and prescribed fires to encourage herbaceous growth. A main design assumption of these recommendations is that they enhance the density of highly-utilized prey species, although the degree to which prey populations are enhanced is currently unknown. Thus, our study focuses on the response of common prey species to forest treatments that are implemented in accordance with habitat management guidelines.
Approximately 1095 acres of the Eager south Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) forest treatment area was treated to the USDA Forest Service management recommendations for the Northern Goshawk. Therelative abundance of eight common prey species used by the Northern Goshawk within
the Eager south WUI are currently being
evaluated in a post-treatment site and an
adjacent untreated control site. The prey
species include: Abert’s Squirrel (Sciurus aberti),
Cottontail Rabbit (Sylvilagus spp.), Golden Mantled
Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus lateralis), Chipmunk
(Eutamis spp.), Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus),
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus), Steller’s Jay
(Cyanocitta stelleri), and Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura).
This project will determine the response of Northern Goshawk prey species to forest management guidelines. Our results will allow us to make recommendations for continued viability of the Northern Goshawk, while maintaining forest health and reducing the risk of fire to communities.
For more information contact:
Wildlife Specialist III, Arizona Game and Fish department,
5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000.