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By: Anna Schneider

If I had to choose one word to describe my work with Team Goshawk, it would be “breathtaking”. As field biologists, we get to explore remote portions of the forest that are virtually untouched by humans. Whether I’m fighting my way through snow covered shrubs or walking along the top of a sagebrush covered ridge, the natural beauty of the Sawtooth National Forest stuns me every year. While our study area is striking, handling the birds is the true highlight of the field season. There’s nothing in the world quite like holding an adult Northern Goshawk in your hands.

They have incredibly intense blood red eyes, and you can feel how powerful and wild they are.

a smiling young woman biologist holding a large goshawk with dark red eyes and long barred tail
Anna Schneider holding a banded adult Northern Goshawk. Photo Credit: Eliana Heiser

During this season we were lucky enough to be able to band 13 nestlings and capture eight adults, a huge improvement from last years challenging summer. Although this was my third year on the team, I was able to expand my skillset and improve skills that were previously new to me. This year I was able to increase my blood drawing abilities and learned the process of camera installation. Though it would be impossible to pick a favorite moment of the season, one highlight was recapturing female 2U, a bird I had banded in 2018.

Seeing birds you had previously handled thriving in the wild and raising their young makes difficult hikes and freezing weather worth it.

2 birds in a tree
Two young Northern Goshawks on alert in the forest canopy. Photo Credit: Robert Miller

I have participated in many research projects but Team Goshawk will always stand out to me, because of the incredible birds we handle, the important ecological studies we conduct, and because of the amazing people on Team Goshawk.

This article is part of our 2020 end of the year newsletter! View the full newsletter here, or click “older posts” below to read the next article.

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