Excitement in the New Forest as goshawk chicks hatch

Published Monday 13 May 2013

There’s excitement in the air across the New Forest thanks to the arrival of two special chicks.

The young goshawks were welcomed into the world yesterday [Thursday 9 May], and as yet there is still one more egg in the nest, which all being well is expected to hatch in the coming days.

The new family made their home in the New Forest National Park, and visitors can watch them live on a nest-cam at the Reptile Centre in Lyndhurst and online at New Forest Gateway.

Jeremy Peters, Date with Nature officer for the RSPB South East, said: 'Having been watching the nest-cam expectantly over the past few days, we've been rewarded with the sight of two new goshawk chicks hatching, the first appeared at around 11.20am Thursday morning.

'In the afternoon, I was watching online at home and saw the second chick hatch at 4.20pm. Watching the chicks grow over the next six to seven weeks will be such an exciting time at the project.

'I'd encourage people to come down to the Reptile Centre, in the New Forest, to watch the TV images of these goshawk chicks as they feed and grow. There are also all the reptiles and amphibians to see too.'

The mother will protectively brood her chicks for the first eight to ten days. The chicks are expected to stay in the nest for about 35 days before moving onto nearby branches for a further ten days, by which time they are able to fly.

These birds of prey are being filmed as part of the Date with Nature in the New Forest project, a partnership of the RSPB, the Forestry Commission, the New Forest National Park Authority and Carnyx Wild.

Goshawks became extinct in Britain at the end of the 1800s because of persecution and a reduction in their forest habitat.

The population is now recovering, and originates from birds that were deliberately released or escaped from captivity. However, continued persecution, including theft of eggs and young, is still a problem.

The Date with Nature project has already welcomed over 1800 visitors to the Lyndhurst Reptile Centre since it opened at the end of March.

There are the reptiles and amphibians to see in the outside pods too. Staff and volunteers are on hand to answer questions and provide information on the wildlife that lives in the New Forest.

The ‘Wild Wednesday’ children's activity days during the Easter holidays were a great success, and will run again in the May half-term and during the summer school holidays. These free activities, which will be packed full of fun and creativity, are inspired by the wildlife and nature found in the New Forest.

A Date with Nature in the New Forest runs daily until 1 September, 10 am to 4.30 pm. Entry to the Reptile Centre is free although donations for parking are welcome.


For more information please contact:
Sam Stokes, RSPB South East media officer, t: 01273 763610

Video and stills to accompany stories for this year’s New Forest Date with Nature can be downloaded at New Forest Gateway. Please register on the website in order to access the images. Copyright for all video and images belongs to Carnyx Wild.

Note to editors:

  • A Date with Nature in the New Forest runs daily from 29 March to 2 September, 10 am to 4.30 pm.
  • Entry to the Reptile Centre is free although donations for parking are welcome.
  • The New Forest Gateway is a community resource and image library.  A compilation of Goshawk and Hobby highlights are viewable from previous years.  
  • From 29 March a live Nest Cam is viewable for those who are unable to visit the Reptile Centre.  
  • Carnyx Wild also provides a media section for journalists and broadcasters, which includes downloadable screen-grabs and video. To obtain video images and technical information contact Peter Dobson on 07711205341 or email peter@carnyx.tv.
  • The project is a partnership between the RSPB, Forestry Commission, New Forest National Park Authority and Carnyx Wild
  • The RSPB provides interpretation for visitors to the project.

The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. We are the largest wildlife conservation organisation in Europe with over one million members. Wildlife and the environment face many threats. Our work is focused on the species and habitats that are in the greatest danger. Our work is driven by the passionate belief that birds and wildlife enrich people's lives; the health of bird populations is indicative of the health of the planet, on which the future of the human race depends; we all have a responsibility to protect wildlife. The RSPB has more than one million members, over 17,000 volunteers, 1,772 FTE staff, more than 200 nature reserves, nine regional offices, a UK headquarters, three national offices and one vision - to work for a better environment rich in birds and wildlife.  Visit RSPB for more information

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. It supports woodland owners with grants, tree felling licences, regulation and advice; promotes the benefits of forests and forestry; and advises Government on forestry policy. It manages more than a million hectares (2.5 million acres) of national forest land for public benefits such as sustainable timber production, public recreation, nature conservation, and rural and community development. For more information, visit New Forest Forestry Commission.

About the New Forest National Park Authority
Protect - Enjoy - Prosper
The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Carnyx Wild’s role is to install the technology at the nest site with the Forestry Commission and then keep the wireless signal beaming across the forest back to the public viewing point at the Reptile Centre and through broadband to the world.   For a project overview or for general information on natural history filming contact Manuel Hinge on 0780 8015346 or manuel@naturalworlduk.com.

A Date with Nature in the New Forest project timeline:

  • Goshawk nest-building March
  • Goshawk camera installed mid to end March.
  • Event open 29 March – 1 September.
  • Egg-laying March/April.
  • Eggs hatch May.
  • Goshawk chicks fledge June.
  • Hobby nest refurbishment early June.
  • Egg-laying June.
  • Eggs hatch July.
  • Chicks fledge August.

Goshawk facts:

  • Known as the ‘phantoms of the forest’, only 500 breeding pairs of goshawks exist in UK, including around 20 pairs resident to the New Forest.
  • Because of persecution and a reduction in forests, goshawks became extinct as a breeding species in Britain at the end of the 1800s.
  • The current UK breeding population is now increasing and originates from birds that have either escaped captivity or were deliberately released.
  • Male is grey-brown with a striped tail and underparts. Has close-set yellow eyes and a white ‘eyebrow’, creating a fierce expression.
  • Female is roughly the size of a buzzard, the male is smaller both between 46-62cm..
  • Goshawks have a deep, powerful flight. When soaring, the wings are held flat with three or four feathers visible at the wing-tip.
  • Performs a distinctive rising and falling sky-dance.
  • When hunting, goshawks are remarkably agile and can weave through trees.
  • Lives and nests in large mature woods and forests. Also hunts in open countryside.
  • Uses cover to surprise prey -will make a rapid chase over a short distance before grabbing quarry with its talons.
  • Most British goshawks do not move far from their breeding sites. Young birds disperse in all directions in late summer. Some northern populations move south in autumn.
  • The oldest ringed bird survived for 19 years.

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