Looking for the Goshawk
Conor Mark Jameson
The book traces Conor Jameson's travels in search of the Goshawk, a magnificent yet rarely seen (in Britain at least) raptor. Each episode of the narrative arises from personal experience, investigation, and the unearthing of information from research, exploration and conversations. The journey takes him from an encounter with a stuffed Goshawk in a glass case, through travels into supposed Goshawk territories in Britain, to Berlin - where he finds the bird at ease in the city. Why, he wants to know, is the bird so rarely seen in Britain? He explores the politics of birdwatching, the sport of falconry and the impact of persecution on the recent history of the bird in Britain and travels the length of Britain, through central Europe and the USA in search of answers to the goshawk mystery. Throughout his journey he is inspired by the writings of T H White who told of his attempts to tame a Goshawk in his much-loved book. It's a gripping tale on the trail of a most mysterious and charismatic bird.
it is demonstrably the effect of human persecution, and when that persecution ceases the lost confidence is almost automatically restored. Few birds retire on our approach without good reason. “Of this I have had an interesting and convincing practical demonstration. When the Allies began the occupation of the Rhineland in 1918, all weapons in the hands of the civil population were confiscated outright, only a few light firearms for the shooting of game or the reduction of sparrows being
green and shiny. Goshawks do this at their nests too, adding fresh greenery through the season, which may have disinfectant value. “I am following up on a report that this site had been recently adopted by a Goshawk,” Rainer explains, all the while looking around, making full use of the available time. “Perhaps a juvenile bird in its first year of life or so, trying to set up a new breeding territory, and using it for now as a roosting and feeding site. “Goshawks here like to bring what they
headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), 20 miles west of Cambridge, and 50 miles north of London. It isn’t Caledonia, but The Lodge is rural, has mature Scots pines in prominent, marginal places, and lies just outside the suburban sprawl of the south-east and the English capital. My home village lies a mile from the A1, the Great North Road of the Roman age that takes the traveller to Scotland, to this border, 300 miles away. In places, this vehicular aorta has
like that. They are just plain difficult to find. I did make one serious effort to see a Goshawk here, more than a decade ago. I wrote about it for Birds magazine at the time, under the heading ‘Renaissance’. It was intended as a modest celebration of the bird species that at that time were slowly but surely recolonising this area, following years of absence. The reason for the disappearance of these birds – species like the Golden Eagle, Raven and Buzzard, as well as the Goshawk, which was the
removed every year. The result is that in less than two centuries of excessive land exploitation, western Scotland has been turned from a fairly productive self-sustaining ecosystem, supporting a lot of life, to the barren, degraded and impoverished landscape we find today. *** Roger Lovegrove has given me some further insights. “Not only were there numerous keepers, but the estate at the time was enormous, straddling the whole of that area of the Highlands,” he reports. Roger has also tried