Friday Flashback – Northern Goshawk

Today’s Friday Flashback is from October 19th 2012 and features a juvenile northern goshawk having caught it’s dinner, but not too sure what to do next!

Northern Goshawk

“It was early evening at the end of a warm day and I was sat by a river watching the chum salmon go by, waiting and hoping for a bear or wolf to show up.  On the opposite side of the river in the shallows I could see several gulls were feeding on the dead salmon scraps.  Suddenly, BANG, out of nowhere something hit one of the gulls, a ‘mew’ gull, and sent it rolling like tumbleweed in a north American desert.  In a flash a raptor was back on the gull and holding it down in a type of wing and headlock.  The gull struggled for its freedom but was getting nowhere.  The attacker looked around as if to ask what do I do now, as it stood and held the gull tight in its powerful claws.  Finally, it hopped with the catch to the waters edge and drowned its prey.  This is nature at its most brutal and not something you get to see everyday, but it is in fact the second time I’ve seen a bird of prey use this drowning technique – a few years ago further down the BC coast, I saw a bald eagle do the same thing to a Bonaparte’s gull.  Later I learned the accipiter I had seen on this day was a juvenile Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) and after ten minutes it finally flew off with the now limp mew gull hanging in it’s talons.”

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