Natural born killer
A large female Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis).
I have seen many large birds of prey up close but only the gaze of a Goshawk has ever filled me with dread!
This girl is a falconer's bird used to hunt grouse and other game on the hills above Loch Awe. I rarely take images of captive wildlife but we were visiting the owner of this bird as my wife was purchasing a Briittany puppy from him. The chance of photographing a Goshawk up close was too good an opportunity to miss and her owner kindly allowed me to take some images. An incredible bird that can never be truly tamed.
Wild Goshawk became extinct in Scotland due to persecution but have since re-colonised. They are secretive birds that favour extensive conifer forest which makes it difficult to assess the true wild population however many of these birds are thought to be descended from escaped falconer's hawks which are usually of Central European origin.
This girl was captive bred from German stock.