Hi Geoff

Thanks for the information.
I kind of do what you have suggested when approaching her on a kill. It took me a couple of lessons though to get the measure of her.
She actually seems worse on a Carrion Crow, which is a mighty customer to deal with. I presume her adrenaline is elevated somewhat.

I should point out that her previous owner had never had a hawk before and bought her at a few months old from the breeder who had imprinted her.
I saw on a video the new owner posted that he would call her to the fist and then pocket the Day old chick without giving her a reward.
No doubt there were other mistakes made!!!

As for her behaviour in the mews, when I went to pick her up she would row her wings at me and threaten me. I would then turn around and walk away.
I did this throughout the day and eventually she figured if she was going to get fed that she had to let me approach.
Now I can approach her and pick her up but sometimes she gets the hump with me and stamps down on my arm and leans over to bite the hell out of my forearm.
Once she comes out the mews she is still aggressive but she settles and stops biting and footing me. I'm guessing she is trying to bully me into feeding her and is aggressive due to frustration at not getting fed.
When we are out hunting she isn't aggressive until she is on a kill.
I was hoping that she would have calmed down now that we are out hunting and she has been catching stuff.

Thanks again.

Quote Originally Posted by goshawkr View Post
There are not any articles that I am aware of.

However its a fairly simple problem to work up a plan to resolve. Not so simple to implement that plan, but its not particularly tough.

Aggressive goshawks are not fun, and can be a handful. However, the silk lining on that proverbial sows ear is that an aggressive goshawk is never acting out of unadulterated meanness. Its very rare to see sadisim in any non human creature. An aggressive goshawk wants something from you, and they come around fairly well if you consistently show them that they will get what they want if they use their manners. And of course, never give them what they want if they do not use their manners.

The simplest approach to dealing with the aggression on the kill is to figure out how much space she is allowing you before she gets defensive. This will generally be an exact distance. You want to find the distance where she is not showing any aggressive posturing beyond mantling. Stay just beyond this distance, then cross it briefly and then give the Conditioned Reinforcer if she does not act overtly aggressive and then immediately retreat. The act of you retreating is the reward, but if you can toss a tidbit to where she can easily reach it that will not be a bad way to further reinforce the reward. This works without bringing any of the OC toolset into the mix, but using the CR helps solidify the communication.

Another even more powerful way to work on this is to let her train you to back off. For example, if she gives you the stink eye you might take that as a signal that she wants you to go away. Once she learns how to pull your puppet strings the need to bully you will usually fade very quickly. Fighting is very risky in the wild, and only resorted to as a last resort.

Its not really clear to me on what kind of aggression you are seeing in the mew, so I cannot give some specific examples on how to work through that.