Northern Goshawk



We have at least one pair of goshawk that nest in the watershed.

The northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is listed as one of the species of greatest concern in the Cedar River Watershed Habitat Conservation Plan. They are also listed as a federal species of concern and a candidate species by Washington State, because of concerns about a potentially declining population.

Northern goshawks can occur throughout forested areas in Washington. For nesting, they prefer mature or old-growth forest, with large, tall trees, intermediate canopy coverage, and small open areas for foraging. They have very large home ranges, averaging about 9,000 acres on managed forest land in western Washington. Foraging areas comprise the largest portion of their home range and typically include a greater diversity of forest age and structural characteristics than nesting areas. Goshawks are very territorial and will vigorously defend their nest sites.


Our long-term goal, over the next 50 to 100 years, is to both maintain existing and provide new goshawk habitat in the watershed. Our specific objectives include:

  1. Protect and maintain all existing old-growth forest habitat
  2. Enhance northern goshawk habitat by accelerating the development of old-growth forest characteristics (i.e., structural complexity and species diversity) in young second-growth plantation forests


What are we doing for northern goshawk?

Upland forest habitat protection and enhancement projects will benefit many species dependent on old-growth forest habitat, including northern goshawk, northern spotted owl, and marbled murrelet.

Protect All Watershed Habitats
Management of the watershed serves to avoid or minimize adverse effects of major events such as fire, spills of toxic materials, invasive species, and excessive human disturbance. Protecting the forest from fire will likely provide the most benefit for northern goshawk. This protection helps to maintain all existing old-growth for northern goshawk nesting and through passive restoration allows second-growth forest to develop the large trees needed for nesting. View more information on habitat protection.

Upland Forest Habitat Restoration
Upland forest habitat enhancement projects are designed as active restoration projects to accelerate old-growth forest conditions in second-growth forest generated after clearcut logging. One restoration technique is variable density thinning to provide more growing space for remaining trees. This should provide the large trees required for nesting more rapidly than would passive restoration alone. Another technique is to create small canopy gaps, which the goshawks use for foraging. View more on our upland forest habitat restoration program..

Upland Forest Habitat Research and Monitoring
The entire forest will be monitored through a system of permanent vegetation sample plots to document how habitat is developing through time, and how habitat development under passive restoration compares with that under active restoration.
View more about our upland forest habitat research and monitoring program.