[Bristol-Birds] Northern Goshawk (Greene Co., TN)

  • From: Alice Loftin / Don Miller <pandion@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: TN-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, butternuts@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 23:05:30 -0500 (EST)

February 20, 2012 

At about 2:30 p.m. today, I observed a Northern Goshawk juvenile in 

I encountered the bird while driving west along Bohannon Avenue. My first view 
was a brief one as it lit in a tree at least a hundred yards away. Other than 
the accipiter shape and relatively pale golden-brown upperparts, I saw no 

I turned the car around for a better look and got out with binoculars, by which 
time the bird had taken flight and was moving over me in direct flight. I 
noticed the long, broad wings and short-looking tail. The impression was 
vaguely like a buteo, but obviously not one. The underparts were streaked, but 
not heavily. 

For the next minute or so, I watched the bird in flight with binoculars and 
observed its wingbeats, overall shape from several angles, and undertail 
coverts. The flight style was slower than that of a Cooper's Hawk and was 
somewhat like that of a gull or a Short-eared Owl--that is, the wingbeats were 
rather deep. The effect was definitely not like anything I have ever observed 
with a Cooper's Hawk. As it circled and moved away from me to the southwest, I 
confirmed my initial impression of the wing-to-tail ratio. Several times, I saw 
the bird's very long, puffy undertail coverts flare prominently beyond the 
sides of the tail. 

Occasionally over the last fifteen years or so, I have been given vague reports 
of goshawks in Greene County, but none that included any significant details. 
When I updated the Greene County list in 2005, I did not include the species. 
Thus, today's record appears to represent a first for the county. 

Don Miller 
Greeneville, Greene Co., TN 

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