Goshawk nest camera streaming live from RSPB’s Abernethy Forest

Press release from RSPB Scotland:

Live camera at RSPB Scotland’s Loch Garten Nature Centre provides viewers with 24/7 goshawk footage

Visitors to RSPB Scotland’s Loch Garten Nature Centre have been enjoying live footage of an active goshawk nest within their Abernethy nature reserve.

A camera has been installed in a tree adjacent to the nest and the feed is also being streamed online to the RSPB’s YouTube channel. Infrared technology in the camera means that viewers from around the world can see what the birds are doing day and night.

[The adult female goshawk on the nest. Video grab by RSPB Scotland]

Jess Tomes, Abernethy Site Manager for People at RSPB Scotland, said, “Visitors to the Nature Centre are thoroughly enjoying such an intimate look at the goshawks. We’re also thrilled that we can share this amazing footage with people from all over the world through our YouTube channel. It’s been fascinating watching the pair setting up their rather bulky nest and noting the differences between them – while we’ve yet to see both birds together we’ve been telling them apart by their different coloured eyes.”

Goshawks have a wingspan of approximately 1.5m and larger females can weigh up to 2kg. Despite their bulk, they are known for being graceful fliers, even in dense woodland, where they weave between trees at high speed and capture prey in flight. Because of this, they are often referred to as ‘phantoms of the forest’. They were driven to extinction in the UK in the late nineteenth century before escaped falconry birds re-established a population from the 1960s onwards.

The goshawk camera has been set up in addition to Loch Garten’s long-established osprey camera and another which was recently installed near a white-tailed eagle nest in the Cairngorms Connect partnership landscape. Visitors to the Nature Centre can now view live footage of three of Scotland’s most iconic birds of prey in one place.

Fraser Cormack, Warden for RSPB Scotland’s Abernethy nature reserve said, “Goshawks are exactly the type of bird we’d expect to see in a healthy pine forest, so we’re delighted to have them at Abernethy. While the camera doesn’t allow us to see the nest cup, the behaviour of the female indicates that she may indeed be on eggs, so it would be wonderful if we could welcome some chicks in the coming weeks. We’ve a longstanding tradition of being a home for ospreys at Loch Garten, so hopefully the goshawks will see the same level of success.”

Goshawks often lay three or four eggs which take approximately 5-6 weeks to hatch. Young birds remain in the nest for a further 6-7 weeks beyond this, relying on their parents for food.

The camera was installed by Wildlife Windows with technical support from External Reality. Funding was provided by the European Regional Development Fund through NatureScot.


The goshawk nest camera can be watched live here:

10 thoughts on “Goshawk nest camera streaming live from RSPB’s Abernethy Forest”

  1. I would be happy to be proved wrong, but although the English sub population of the hen harrier is worst affected of all, at national level isn’t the goshawk the BoP with the population most suppressed by persecution, it only exists in the UK at about 6% of the projected 10,000 breeding pairs we could have? The goshawk as a bird, and as a victim of persecution just isn’t getting the attention it deserves so this is a fantastic initiative. Quite a few BoPs feed on field voles, but how many are significant predators of corvids and grey squirrels? I don’t believe our songbirds are struggling due to crows, jays and magpies, but it should be an excellent way of countering those that say they do (and who actually have a hidden agenda) by asking why they aren’t waving the flag for the return of the goshawk and against what must be brutal levels of illegal killing. For various reasons it’s especially important the goshawk gets more support.

    1. Yes Les, I agree.
      My local keeper refers to Goshawks as ‘evil birds’, and here in the North York Moors they are doing well in a couple of the larger Forestry Commision forests but not really liked or tolerated on the bulk of the land managed for game/sporting purposes.
      It does seem odd that camera studies in one of those forests showed that (roughly from memory) from 140 prey species brought to the nest, 70% were mammals, mainly grey squirrels and some rabbits, the 30% birds was mainly woodpigeons, some corvids, and I think only 1 pheasant (and 1 sparrowhawk).


      So it I always surprising to me that the local landowners, keepers, shooters and farmers hate them so much.

      Loving this live camera feed by the way, and agreed more protection and more good PR for this magnificent bitd.

      1. There was a ludicrous video doing the rounds a few years ago, that I think has now been pulled from general circulation because they eventually realised they were shooting themselves in the foot, where a senior gamekeeper on Deeside claimed that there were three pairs of golden eagles on his estate which he loved as they were ‘a noble bird’. He then very quickly went on to say that goshawks and pine martens were moving into the area and ‘they killed for the sake of killing’. So somehow one predator is noble, but two others were deemed to be vicious killers, what an arrogant and idiotic piece of tripe from someone purporting to be both a naturalist and conservationist. The supreme irony is that his whole job is based upon the predilections of some who REALLY kill for fun.

    2. Certainly true here in Wales where Goshawk is not that uncommon but breeding performance and population is certainly being surpressed by those who manage pheasant shooting. Most keepers I’ve met hate Gos as much as Hen Harrier, Peregrine or Golden Eagle.

  2. I do like looking at the Osprey nestcams and the Peregrines on one or two cathedrals every now and then. But this feels a bit more special to me, motivating in fact. It sounds soft but it puts the “I Have a Dream” speech’ type of thoughts in my head! Maybe it’s because I have never even seen a Goshawk, whereas I have at least I have seen all other ‘british’ raptors, even if only a few glimpses of some. Not because of lack of time in the right places (far from it – perfect habitat is pretty much on the doorstep) but purely because of intensive keepering activity, the effect of which over the generations is that people just dully accept it and assume that it is just the way things are / have always been / always will be.

  3. Check in on this every day and this is the first time (09:20 hrs 20/5/22) that there is no bird on the nest.

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