Daily Archives: July 6, 2010

Sparrowhawks killing every swallow

Hi Trish,
Did you get my desperate email re the Sparrowhawk taking all our swallows out of their nest and roost and also in flight.

I have made holes in all the barn doors so hopefully the hawk will not get in…what size gap could a hawk get through ?

I am still worries he will get through the gaps as the swallows were very reluctant to go through the gaps instead of having an open door which they much prefer..I had to make the gaps bigger than i wanted just to get them to agree to fly in and out of them.

I know hawks are clever and a male sparrow hawk is not that big..he flies into a barn gap that was made years ago for swallows when the garage doors are shut. He was not afraid..I hope the gaps are small enough.

I can ‘t bear the carnage any longer…just too heartbreaking to see the swallows valiant struggle against such a bird…

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This is the first email that was sent to me –

Hi, I need help regarding sparrow hawks killing all the swallows we have nesting here!
 
It’s awful. I am a nervous wreck from trying to keep him away.
 
Up at 5am to help them and hate leaving the house in case he strikes.   Usually 5 times a day or more.
 
Such carnage my heart is breaking for them.
 
He flies into the barns and just takes females nesting and the young. Then any fledglings in flight. I shut the doors and cut openings for the swallows to come in and out. But am worried the hawk could still get in if he wanted as I had to make long gaps for the swallows to even consider flying through them.
 
They seemed upset they no longer had open door entrance! I wish I could help them more . i think he will take them all eventually.
 
Day by day there are fewer and fewer. The swallows mob him but he still can take them in flight if he wants…what else can I do?
 
Why is there no protection against these birds of prey to help the defenceless. Swallows have such a hard life now made even harde by so many sparrowhawks in uk.
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I replied –
I’m sorry I have been having internet and computer problems  and that I didn’t see your email until now
 
I don’t think there is anything else you could have done.  It is brilliant you have tried so much to help.
 
I know swallows can get through very small holes,but  I also think that sparrowhawks can as well.
 
It must have been so horrible for you seeing it and being so close to it
 
But we must tell this story so people understand sparrowhawks more and the damage they can do.
 
I have emailed a group called SongBird Survival
www.songbird-survival.org.uk   and I have asked them.  They are a lot bigger than I am and are also doing their best for birds.
 
Here is what the RSPB say about sparrowhawks    http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/features/sparrowhawks_songbirds.aspx
 
  If the swallows were frightened and disorientated by the sparrowhawk then they maybe would not fly as well.
 
What is happening now?  Has the sparrowhawk gone.
 
Could the swallows rear another brood or will the sparrowhawk return
 
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These two emails were sent to me over a short period when I was having computer problems.
 
Does anyone know how to keep a sparrowhawk out?  What size holes can sparrowhawks fly through.
 
It is so good of you to spend time and effort and my heart goes out to you.  You’ve done all you could and more.  Let me know what has happened.