I don’t think the birds would fair any better to be honest if you stop feeding them.
If you encounter a Sparrow Hawk stalking the garden then altering the feeding plan should help the smaller birds.
If there are one or even two SHs flying around then you would need to be extra vigilant and think very carefully about what to do, even if it means stopping feeding them for a week or two until there is no threat.
I haven’t seen a SH in my garden for many months now, and
I have stopped hanging up feeders.
I have camouflaged an area for the birds in which they can eat.
When the bird of prey was watching the feeders, I took them down and didn’t put much food out as normal until it was all clear. It would have been more difficult in the winter but I would’ve done my best to protect the garden birds and made sure they had something to eat. They are very happy out there and have a wonderful life eating healthily.
If it wasn’t for me and no doubt many others feeding them through the harsh winter I am certain most would’ve died.
To see the same groups of birds flying around after winter is a privilege.
Shell is a friend of Bird Table News and I’m really pleased she has sent this good advice.
I am a bit like Shell in the way I feed the birds. I put some bird food under a bush and this has camouflagedthe bird food and birds of prey won’t be able to see it.
I do have hanging feeders but they are caged feeders now.
I echo what Shell says – To see the same groups of birds flying around after winter is a privilege.
Thanks for getting in touch Shell