'Phantoms of the forest': Goshawk's life put in focus by 24/7 Scottish camera nest camera

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The secretive life of one of Britain’s most elusive and persecuted birds of prey can now be studied 24/7 on CCTV footage.

A live camera installed at RSPB Scotland’s Loch Garten Nature Centre at Abernethy in the Highlands provides viewers with a unique chance to study goshawks.

A camera has been installed in a tree adjacent to the nest and the feed is also being streamed online to the RSPB’s YouTube channel. Infrared technology in the camera means that viewers from around the world can see what the birds are doing day and night.

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Jess Tomes, Abernethy site manager for People at RSPB Scotland, said: “Visitors to the Nature Centre are thoroughly enjoying such an intimate look at the goshawks. We’re also thrilled that we can share this amazing footage with people from all over the world through our YouTube channel.

The male goshawk on the nest at Boat of Garden.
Pic: RSPBThe male goshawk on the nest at Boat of Garden.
The male goshawk on the nest at Boat of Garden. Pic: RSPB

"It’s been fascinating watching the pair setting up their rather bulky nest and noting the differences between them. While we’ve yet to see both birds together, we’ve been telling them apart by their different coloured eyes.”

Goshawks have a wingspan of about 1.5m and larger females can weigh up to 2kg. Despite their bulk, they are known for being graceful fliers, even in dense woodland, where they weave between trees at high speed and capture prey in flight.

Because of this, they are often referred to as ‘phantoms of the forest’. They were driven to extinction in the UK in the late 19th century before escaped falconry birds re-established a population from the 1960s onwards.

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