[Tweeters] Northern Goshawk, Renton, Maple Valley Heights

Guy McWethy lguy_mcw at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 13 10:35:45 PDT 2010

Hey Tweets, I got a new Yard Bird today in Renton ...

I was heading for my car this AM, and saw this large raptor sun-bathing in a tree in my backyard.

Hmm ... very pale, Red-tail sized, no belly band, gray finely streaked breast, dark cap ....

Crap!! Where are the Bins !! Where are my bins !!
Scrabble thru the back-pack! This them? No! Where are they! Crap !!
Got em! Is she still there? Yes!
Straps tangled!! Crap Crap Crap !!
Untangle them quick !!! She still there? Crap Crap Crap !!!

Got them untangled! Look up !! Get your bins on her !!!

Just as I raise the bins, off she goes !! Right between me and the sun, so all I get is a backlit view of this HUGE accipiter. Very heavy, deep chest, broad wings, LONG tail ... Definitely Red-tail sized, Too large for the regular Cooper's hawk that lurk around the neighborhood.

Where did she go!?! Did she land again? She's zigging thru the trees ... Still see her ??? Dang! Lost her !! Think she stopped in the next trees? Run over there. See her? nope .. Dang ...

Hmmm. the jays are yelling at something over there ... Is it her?
Cruise past in the car, really slowly ... Can I see the jays and what they are yelling at .. Nope, to far in ... Dang ....
Dang ....

Upon review, I am confident it was a NORTHERN GOSHAWK. Size was definitely comparable to a Red-tailed hawk, much larger than any female Cooper's Hawk I've seen in the neighborhood. Breast was gray-ish and finely streaked with no belly band. Streaks appeared too fine for a Cooopers. Offset by dark cap on head. In flight, the chest was REALLY heavy looking, long tail and broad wings definitely make it an accipiter. It flew right into the trees rather than up over them or around them.

Over the 13 years I've been in this house, we have seen some good raptors and owls move along this ridge in the fall. Bob reported seeing a Goshawk last year at about the same time, about a block from my house, along the power lines.

Great way to start the morning !!!

Guy McWethy
Renton, WA
mailto: lguy_mcw at yahoo.com

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