In the context of the yearly Globe Guard auction, the Leo Foundation offers an unique experience: the banding of northern goshawks at the Hoge Veluwe. Three sponsors contributed to one of our projects, on conservation of leopards and fishing cats in Nepal, and to thank them for this generous contribution, together with board member Laura Bertola, they were able to join ornithologists Ralph Buij and Peter van Geneijgen for a day.
After a short coffee break, we set out towards the first nest. This was located about 20 metres above the ground. In order to reach the goshawk chicks, one of the researchers has to climb the tree. After approaching the nest, the chicks are place in a canvas bags, which then are lowered to the forest floor. The chicks calmly accept the entire ordeal.During the banding, a number of different measurements are taken, including weight and wing length. These measurements allow us to calculate their age and physical condition. Finally, the chicks get a small band with a unique code. If this code is retrieved, from a dead or living bird, it allows the researchers to monitor how far the goshawks have dispersed from their nest, the average survival and the cause of death.
After all is finished, the chicks are placed in their canvas bags again and travel back up to the nest. On this day, four nests were visited and all chicks were banded. The population of northern goshawks in the southwestern area of the Veluwe is 27-30 individuals, but the number of breeding pairs varies yearly. Thanks to this monitoring program, we obtain better insights in to the status of this population. And thanks to the contribution of the sponsors, also the research on leopards and fishing cats in Nepal is moving forward.