The goshawk with its chicks
THE goshawk, once persecuted to extinction in the UK, has taken a monumental step forward in Devon and has been uniquely captured on camera.
For the first time, goshawks have fledged chicks at the Forestry Commission's Haldon Forest Park, between Exeter and Chudleigh.
Three chicks have this month flown the nest, the only one in the UK to have had a camera trained on it.
The rare footage has now been made available to the public and Haldon Forest Park ranger Ian Parsons is delighted with the birds' progress.
He received a special licence from Natural England, allowing him to install a camera on the nest — the only such licence granted this year.
Ian said: “We have recorded tremendous footage of the adult birds feeding and caring for the young.
“We have also been able to record exactly what the birds have been feeding on. Grey squirrels are a firm favourite.”
There are only around 400 breeding pairs of goshawks in the UK.
Ian added: “Goshawks were persecuted to extinction in the 1960s but they have gradually been reintroduced to the UK. They are hit from all sides really.
“Gamekeepers shoot them because they are seen as a threat, their eggs are highly prized and are targeted by poachers, while the chicks are often taken by falconers.”
Three minutes of highlights from the forest park webcam footage can be seen at www.forestry. gov.uk.