OFTEN known as the phantoms of the forest, bird enthusiasts are now able to get a bird’s eye view of an elusive pair of birds nesting deep within the New Forest.

Goshawks were absent from the New Forest for more than 120 years and only returned in 2002. A team at Forestry England has worked hard to ensure the birds can breed successfully and now, there are 45 pairs.

These are large hawks, agile in flight, and are rarely seen as they silently weave in and out of trees and shrubs when hunting down prey.

Salisbury Journal: Image: Photo AgencyImage: Photo Agency (Image: Photo Agency)

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Head of wildlife, Forestry England South District, Andy Page said: “The return of goshawks to the New Forest is a real conservation success story and it’s great to see them thriving here.

“We spend many hours each year monitoring these fascinating birds to help ensure that our forest management activities support them.

The birds have a broad windspace of 135cm to 165cm and the female is larger, around 900 to 2,000g. 

A pair of goshawks can be viewed on the nest courtesy of a new nestcam sponsored by Tropic Skincare and this enables unique insight into the world of the goshawks as they nest in the canopy of a 60ft Douglas Fir tree.

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Andy added: “Our nest monitoring of these top predators gives us a good indication of the overall health of our woodland as a place to support a diversity of species.”

Each year, the birds are carefully monitored and studied to learn more about breeding and nesting behaviours. Before the chicks fledge, the team ring, measure and weigh them to assess each bird’s development.

Rings recovered from the birds help the team to understand where the birds travel as the population spreads out to neighbouring counties.

To watch these elusive birds, go to the forestyengland.uk website.