Close Encounters of the Goshawk Kind

It was late in the afternoon, exhausted from a full day of birding and having already covered about 95% of our CBC territory, Danika and I were just going down one of the last roads we hadn’t been on, when we spotted a flock of American Robins.

A big flock of American Robins, like a couple hundred.

Danika positioned the car and began counting the Robins, I casually looked through them for anything interesting such as Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeak, Hermit Thrush etc.  Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, a large raptor took off from a low perch.  My brain in only a split second said “Red-tailed Hawk“, but this bird flew low to the ground and immediately got a burst of speed, most Red-tailed Hawks would be jealous of.  The Robins as expected exploded as this massive Accipiter flew right in front of the car.  It flew a short distance and landed again on a low branch while Robins flew around like mad birds.

Danika repositioned the car and she was able to get a look at the jagged banding on the tail, before this big, heavy bodied bird flew off into the woods, likely to never be seen again.

It was the 1st Northern Goshawk we have had on sector C2 of the Albany County CBC in almost 10 years of covering that section.

It also explained why we thought it was so strange that an adult Sharp-Shinned Hawk was hiding in a bush just up the road.  He/she knew better!


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