Brinker lays most of the blame on West Nile virus, which is transmitted to goshawks by infected mosquitoes and other birds they eat, such as crows and ruffed grouse. Other factors are at play, too, Brinker said, that highlight the tricky balance of wildlife management. The fisher, a large, carnivorous member of the weasel family, was once close to extinction in Pennsylvania but conservation efforts have brought their numbers back. Adept climbers, fishers often prey on goshawk nests, Brinker said.

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