Birds of Prey

Paul started researching birds of prey for his doctorate at Imperial College. The work evolved from an academic exercise into a life-long passion that continued long after obtaining his PhD. His long-term population dynamics study of the Northern Goshawk involved a team of volunteers and support from the Forestry Commission, a national park authority and grants from various organisations. It resulted in many publications and articles covering general biology, diet, breeding performance and habitat requirements of the goshawk.  

The BBC and others film makers came to film these elusive woodland hawks as a result of Paul's research. The study raised awareness with land owners who established a nesting habitat management protocol that played its part in ensuring that the population grew naturally from a few pairs to well over 60 pairs in a fifteen year period. At the height of the study more than 100 nestlings were being rung each breeding season and some dispersed as far as Ireland. A real conservation success!

Note: all this work was conducted under the appropriate licences issued by the Countryside Council for Wales. 

Female goshawk with brood of three. I later caught one of the young breeding as an adult a few miles awayPhoto: Paul Toyne
Female goshawk with brood. Photo: Paul Toyne
Weighing a nestling goshawk.  Photo: S. Binney
Weighing a nestling goshawk. Photo: S. Binney
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Nesting chronology of goshawks and implications for their managment

Forestry 1997 Nesting chronology of northern goshawks in Wales Goshawks nest in mature forestry plantations are in so doing are vulnerable of unaware foresters felling their nest tree in the breeding season. Paul's work made practical recommendations, as provided in this paper, to help foresters better manage goshawk nest sites ...
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BBC Wildlife cover story on goshawks in Britain

BBC Wildlife Magazine May 1998 The Great Escape BBC Wildlife, the monthly magazine devoted to nature, commissioned Paul to describe the ecology of the goshawks and his population dynamics study of the elusive bird of prey. The photos and illustrations are stunning! The article was well received, and was even translated and published in an equivalent Greek magazine ...
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Blood parasites in nestling goshawks

journal-of-raptor-research-1997-blood-parasites-of-goshawks Paul was approached by Dick Ashford, a professor at the School of Tropical Medicine, to see if blood samples from nestling goshawks could be analysed for blood parasites. The results are described in this academic paper ...
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Are goshawks good or bad for the countryside: what is their impact?

the-raptor-1995-6-the northern goshawk-friend-or-foe? In this general article Paul makes the case for the goshawk to be seen as friend not a foe to both the farmer and the forester. This view was based on the his study of goshawks' diet in Wales during the breeding season where common food were pest species like wood pigeon, grey squirrel and corvids, such as crows and jackdaws ...
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Breeding season diet of goshawks

Ibis 1998 Breeding season of the Goshawk In this paper, published in the British Ornithological Union's academic journal the Ibis, the breeding season diet of goshawks is described. Paul's study of over 2,000 prey items showed goshawks mainly predated on common species such as grey squirrel, wood pigeons, rabbits, crows and jackdaw ...
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Goshawk nest building in autumn rather than winter

welsh-birds-1995-autumnal-nest-building-by-goshawks This paper describes the nest building of a pair of goshawks in the Autumn, rather than more commonly in late winter / early spring. This is important as the nest sites of goshawks are protected during the breeding season (March through to August) but if nesting starts earlier forest managers need to assess their woods for breeding pairs earlier than previously thought. Although if the nest tree was felled, goshawks are capable of building new nests fairly quickly ...
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Goshawk nesting in abandoned heronry

j-raptor-research-1997_-notes-on-northern-goshawks This note describes how a pair of goshawks moved several herons from their nest site, and then a heron's nest was used as a nest platform for the goshawk to have a successful nesting attempt ...
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Breeding performance of goshawks

the-raptor-1995-6-1995-breeding-performance-of-northern-goshawks-in-wales In this paper Paul looked at the breeding performance of a population of goshawks over a single breeding season ...
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