When we attract birds to our gardens by putting bird food out we often also attract birds of prey such as Sparrowhawks.  I have been writing about this problem and readers have been getting in touch

This photo shows such a good idea put into  practice.  It must be worth a try as it does not harm the sparrowhawk – just frightens it away.  Elaine has had it hanging in her garden  for 6 weeks and it has not deflated. 

It’s not a technical idea is it?  But it is such a simple idea – put something big and frightening in the garden. 

 This is what Elaine said

Hi, sorry not to have got back to you, had the dreaded cough virus.

Well so far, no sightings of the sparrowhawk. I havent actually strung the deterrent up as was instructed, mainly because of trying to find poles and where to attach them at the house end, that extend at least 15 foot in height. So for the time being I have managed to hang it in the apple tree, which is not advised in the summer because of the foliage covering it. Unfortunately it doesnt have a non return type valve like a beach air bed etc. so you need plenty of puff and I had to stick my tongue over the hole each time I drew for breath and then mad panic to get the stopper in!! I have had all sorts of comical remarks from neighbours and the gas engineer thought I was celebrating the chinese new year!!

You can see it here: http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk174/jen26-bucket/HawkDeterrent.jpg

Anyway, its been there for 6 weeks now in all the awful weather we have had and only showing slight signs of deflation, so I am hoping it will do the trick.  


If you are interested in finding out more and perhaps buying one then here is the website Elaine told me about



I’m so pleased there are other people like me who get involved with bird life in their gardens.  I have put all sorts of makeshift contraptions round birdtables and bird feeders in an attempt to stop larger birds get all the bird food.  I sometimes think I must be mad doing all this.  I’ve put canes round bird tables, covered the ground feeder so that it became a sort of igloo for the birds in all the snow – but I am not mad?! 

Is anyone  else ‘not mad’, but still doing their bit in the garden to help out garden birds.  Let me know

 It is all worth it when I see blue tits, dunnocks, sparrows, chaffinches and other garden birds ‘relaxing’ and ‘feeling at home’ inside these makeshift feeders.

  Below are the notes, ideas and problems about sparrowhawks in the garden.


Trisha, Bird Table News


  1. Elaine Cole

    Hi folks,
    Very sad to have to say that last week, I saw a male sparrowhawk sitting in one of the hanging baskets below this deterrent. I dont know if this is going to be a regular occurrence but has really upset me at the thought of what the Summer maybe like when the baby birds are hatching. I daresay the Dazer people will say it is because it wasnt rigged up high enough on a line, so I dont know what to do now. I might still go for the poles and line and perhaps add another balloon to it, this will be difficult and the poles could prove expensive. I will still investigate further other devices and also hang up some cd’s as was suggested.

  2. Trish Post author

    Hi Elaine, Sorry I have not replied before. What a shame. I hope it does not come all the time to your garden. And after you have taken so much time as well. Sparrowhawks can decimate a garden.

    I think I have said that some people say poles set out in a garden stop the line of flight of a sparrowhawk. Also prickly hedges stop sparrowhawks. Could you put the bird food inside a prickly hedge – such as hawthorne.
    Songbird Survival – http://www.songbird-survival.org.uk/ have shown that lack . They are trying to protect our songbirds and on the website it says

    ‘That populations of many predators have increased in the last 20 years or so is not in dispute. The reasons for the increase are not always clear-cut. For instance, some are protected by legislation, others are not. While some, such as the sparrowhawk occur widely over the UK others are more localised.

    The sparrowhawk, magpie and fox have quickly become less wary of man and continue moving into the urban environment, badgers are expanding their range and beginning to colonise urban locations while mink remain in rural areas.’

    Maybe the answer is to feed inside a caged feeder.

    I have stuck some 5 ft canes in the ground in a circle and I put bird food in that. Is that an idea?
    Let me know what is happening with this sparrowhark.


  3. glenn quinn

    being a pigeon fancier for over 20yrs, i have tried many ways to deter attacts and one of the best was when i hung old cds around the lofts, its almost stopped all attacks at the lofts,if only i could hang them in a larger area. i hope that this may help those only trying to protect their birdtable.

  4. Trish Post author

    Thank you for this advice. If you’ve had 20 years experience you will know what works and what doesn’t work. I will put this on Bird Table News – as an article


  5. posie

    I can’t understand the mentality of the people who re-introduced and encouraged the growth of the hawk population in this country. They have no predators and are just emptying our gardens of song birds. Perhaps if we stop buying commercial bird food something might be done. I spend £s on raisins for the blackbirds and a sparrow hawk took another black bird this afternoon.


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