Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) are a species of special conservation concern in the western Great Lakes bioregion and elsewhere in North America, and exhibit landscape-scale spatial use patterns. However, little information exists about Northern Goshawk habitat relations at broad spatial extents, as most existing published information comes from a few locations of relatively small spatial extent and, in some cases, short durations. We used an information-theoretic approach to evaluate competing hypotheses regarding factors (forest canopy cover, successional stage, and heights of the canopy top and base) related to odds of Northern Goshawk landscape use throughout the western Great Lakes bioregion based on an occupancy survey completed in 2008 (Bruggeman et al. 2011). We also combined these data with historical data of Northern Goshawk nest locations in the bioregion from 1979-2006 to evaluate the same competing hypotheses to elucidate long-term trends in use. The odds of Northern Goshawk use in 2008, and from 1979-2008, were positively correlated with average percent canopy cover. In the best-approximating models developed using 1979-2008 data, the odds of landscape use were positively correlated with the percentages of the landscape having canopy heights between 10 m and 25 m, and 25 m and 50 m, and the amount of variability in canopy base height. Also, the odds of landscape use were negatively correlated with the average height at the canopy base. Our results suggest multiple habitat factors were related to Northern Goshawk landscape-scale habitat use, similar to habitat use described at smaller spatial scales in the western Great Lakes bioregion and in western North America and Europe.
- Accipiter gentilis
- Northern Goshawk
- habitat use
- nest habitat
- western Great Lakes bioregion