The Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is an apex predator occurring across North America and Eurasia. The species has received considerable conservation focus in late-seral conifer forests of western North America, where its habitat has been substantially reduced and altered by timber harvest and is increasingly at risk from high severity fire, drought, and forest pathogens. In the Sierra Nevada range of California, management and conservation of goshawks are hampered by a lack of knowledge of their basic space use and movement ecology. We used global positioning system (GPS) loggers to investigate space use of 20 resident, adult Northern Goshawks over 3 yr (2015–2018) in the Plumas National Forest, California. Median home range sizes of male goshawks were more than twice as large as those of females, and nonbreeding-season home ranges were three times larger than breeding-season home ranges. High resolution GPS data (location interval 1–6 min) allowed quantification of daily transit distances up to 60 km for individual goshawks and revealed long-distance forays into adjacent territories and surrounding areas. Four goshawks (three males, one female) undertook forays >8 km from their nest locations, with forays lasting up to 6 d; these forays occurred during both breeding and nonbreeding seasons for both sexes. Comparing our results to current conservation approaches, we determined that USDA Forest Service goshawk Protected Activity Centers protected <25% of both the roost locations and the area used during the daytime. Conservation efforts for Northern Goshawks in the Sierra Nevada would benefit from consideration of year-round habitat needs at larger scales than previously thought.
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Vol. 54 • No. 4