Northern Goshawk in the City!

This is not the Accipiter we were expecting. Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperi) are common visitors to the Prep Lab, as are Sharp-shinned Hawks (Accipiter striatus). Both are common birds afterall, and they hang out in urban areas, where they are prone to flying into windows or getting hit by cars. Hence ending up in the Prep Lab on their way into the Field Museum bird collection. But not Northern Goshawks. Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) are denizens of the northwoods, only rarely making forays as far south as Chicago. Their movements are somewhat cylical, so some years there are more than others. But this year there just don't seem to be any around, so we were shocked when a Northern Goshawk came to us from the local area. And I mean local--the bird was found dead in a backyard the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, just a few miles south of the museum itself. I know I'll be giving a little extra scrutiny to all of the Cooper's Hawks I see this winter.


Top: Cooper's Hawk is the usual "large" Accipiter that we get, but it is dwarfed by the Northern Goshawk.

Middle: After being checked for lice ("ruffled"), Collections Manager Ben Marks prepared it as a study skin. It's the first goshawk specimen from the City of Chicago since 2003.

Bottom: The finished goshawk specimen pinned to dry next to another northwoods resident, a Pine Grosbeak.