SRSG - Raptor Monitoring

Link to the wild

To track goshawks, their range, habitat use and dispersal within and beyond the forest.  To monitor their interaction with farmland and other landscape features. 

To monitor the prodgeny from the re-established White tailed sea eagles on the east coast of Scotland. 

The Project

To purchase ‘Movetec’ bird-tracking systems, an innovative and energy efficient bird-borne method of tracking bird movement which connect to mobile phone networks.

The Target

The goshawk is an elusive species whose movements are not amenable to normal visual observation. For this reason, remote tracking of the movements of goshawks within and around the forest between seasons is essential in order to provide unbiased data on their movements and exposure to persecution.  This will also inform forest management plans.

The information we currently have on home range sizes of wild Goshawks is very patchy; it’s fair to say that the upland population of goshawks in Scotland has been understudied. Population and nest monitoring of goshawks will allow SRSG to assess the geographical range of goshawks and therefore understand if or how the population is recovering.

Above is a map of a previous pilot study: a juvenile female goshawk with ranging behaviour from March until June 2015. It clearly shows the large distances covered by this bird. The points are as much as 135km apart, and the bird has shifted region more than once: had it been wearing only a high-frequency radio, there is no way contact would have been maintained.

Education officer, Dave Warren fitting monitoring equipment to an eyass goshawk in 2016.

Sibling male and female goshawks, kitted out with monitoring equipment, ready to be returned to the nest in 2016.

Latest news: The pair are still alive and moving well, we're keeping an eye on them as move to different regions and habitats. The male has ranged slightly further north than the female. Data shown is from a short period in February 2017 - We will not publish current data.


White Tailed Sea Eagles

We are also supporting the reintroduction of white-tailed sea eagles to the east coast of Scotland. These eagles went extinct in Scotland in 1918 but were reintroduced to the west coast using Norwegian donor stock between 1975 and 1985.  Despite poisoning, shooting, and eggs being stolen by collectors, their population has slowly increased.  Reintroduction to the east started in 2007, the eagles fitted with radios in order to monitor their range.  While they have started to breed in the west coast it is our goal to support the protection and monitoring of these birds so they can re-establish themselves in the east too.

Operations Supervisor, Dave Warren ready to return the eagle chick to the nest after having monitoring devices fitted in 2016.

Latest news: The sea eagle is alive and well, in the first 10 months it stayed local enjoying daily trips to the beach, now it is exploring the Cairngorms and skiing facilities around Glenshee.

Where your money goes

Central Scotland & the Borders

Project Leader

Dave - Operations Supervisor

Monitoring raptors began with a childhood infatuation with falconry. I've been very fortunate to work with some impressive and inspiring hawks. In time, my concerns for the status of certain species in the wild has begun to outgrow my exuberance for merely training them in captivity.

Common name
Northern goshawk, white-tailed sea eagle
Scientific name
Accipiter gentilis, Haliaeetus albicilla
Central Scotland
15 years +
Fast facts
• This has never been done in Scotland before
• It will protect the species – we know that tags are one of the best lines against persecution
• The name of a goshawk’s display is the “sky dance”! This includes impressive moves such as spiralling round very quickly, and shooting upwards and downwards through the sky
• Goshawks change the speed and volume of their calls depending on the situation, e.g. bringing food or warning about a predator
Conservation status
Least concern
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