Grey Goshawk - Accipiter novaehollandiae


Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment

Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 29 February 2024

Applicant: University of Tasmania

Species/Taxon: Grey goshawk (Accipiter novaehollandiae)

Location: State Forests, crown land, privately owned land and PWS reserves in southern Tasmania. The location of field work is dependent on the location of re-trapping attempts and where the goshawks being tracked are located. All of the goshawks being tracked are adults, which are less likely to travel large distances than immatures, however, adults have the ability to travel across large areas which is why re-trapping may need to be carried out on various land tenures.

Title of research: Spatial ecology of grey goshawk

Aim of project: 

The aim of this project is to recapture 13 grey goshawks that are carrying GPS trackers so that the GPS trackers can be removed. 

The aim of the GPS tracking research was to improve our understanding of the behavioural ecology of grey goshawks in southern Tasmania. Within this overarching objective the project aimed to:

  1. Estimate breeding and non-breeding home ranges of adult grey goshawks and quantify how home range size is influenced by different environmental variables (eg. geomorphology, soil fertility, prey abundance).

  2. ​Identify habitats used by grey goshawks for different behaviours (e.g. identify and characterise important foraging and roosting habitat). 

As the birds have been collecting GPS data for two-years, these aims can now be addressed.  

Justification: The grey goshawk is listed as endangered at the state level. Despite their endangered status, there is very little known about the behavioural ecology of grey goshawks in Tasmania. This poor understanding necessitates a better insight into their ecology to guide conservation efforts. GPS tracking technology has greatly increased resolution in recent years, with the potential to provide a much better understanding of behaviour. These very detailed behavioural observations can be used to inform the conservation management of threatened species.

Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: The project will involve the recapture and removal of GPS trackers from a maximum of 13 grey goshawks. 

Activities undertaken and methods: This project will involve the recapture of grey goshawks being GPS-tracked as part of existing research carried out under TFA 22490 and TFA 21202. The GPS trackers were fitted to these birds using a harness design that requires recapture of the birds for the GPS tracker to be removed. 

For this project we will use the same techniques used to capture the goshawks previously (remotely triggered bow net). All trapping will be supervised by members of the research team highly experienced in raptor trapping, handling and GPS transmitter attachment/removal. Upon capture the goshawks will be carefully restrained using appropriate techniques. The UTAS ethics vet will be contacted upon recapture events in order to carry out a physical check of the bird. 

Fate of animals: Upon recapture the UTAS veterinarian will be contacted to carry out a physical check of the birds. The condition of the birds will be documented carefully using measurements, images, and notes. All grey goshawks will be released at the site of re-capture. If a goshawk is found to require veterinary treatment, research team will discuss with the UTAS vet and a decision will be made on what course of action to take.

Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): The goshawks will experience some stress by the capture and handling. As the traps are only triggered when the researchers can observe that only the target bird is present, it is unlikely that any non-target birds will be caught. If a non-target bird is caught, it is not expected that any harm will be caused, and the research team will immediately release any caught individuals. 


Scientific Research Permits

Environment Division
GPO Box 44,
Hobart, TAS, 7000.