Hurray!  A sparrowhawk being chased away from a garden.  Here is what happened.  Thanks Bev for sending this.


From Bev –

Our feeding station is positioned near the shrubs and surrounded by the canes which seem to deter the sparrow hawk a lot of the time.

As the weather gets worse its not very easy to climb my garden to the higher level as its very steep and slippery, so I am encouraging the jays etc to come nearer the house and gradually they seem to be doing so.

I do this because I and my neighbour actually saw jackdaws and jays chasing off a hawk quite a few times last month . They also mobbed it so maybe they will actually help deter it for the smaller birds to eat in safety. Has anyone else heard of the same thing happening?

I saw them mob the resident tawny owl a few times this year but he comes back daily in the evening ok.

It seems to me that sparrow hawks are getting more determined here even though they aren’t always successful it doesn’t seem to put them of trying so all we bird lovers can do for our garden birds is persevere with our many deterrents!!

Any one else had similar problems ? It would be interesting to compare tactics! I have re positioned the balloon again today,so will see if it makes any difference !! Kind regards and a happy new year, Bev.


Hope the balloon does make a difference.  I agree all anyone can do is try to deter the hawks so the garden birds can survive.

At the moment in my garden we don’t have any sparrowhawks, but  I see them flying in the countryside.

Amazing that Jays and Jackdaws mobbed a sparrowhawk.  It goes to show birds do think as a group (which I think we know anyway when we see them daily in the garden)

At the moment in the garden I’m lucky that pigeons are the only birds that try to grab the bird food

I am still using the canes stuck into the soil with some wire round as well. Get loads of birds in.  Am also using a makeshift feeder from an upturned plastic tray and an ordinary ground feeder.  I throw seed on the grass near a bush for the blackbirds that are waiting there on a morning.

Take care



  1. Bev

    Hi Trish, here’s an update on our sparrow hawk problem! Well whats happening is unbelievable to us! Yes, the hawk is staying away most of the time from the top of our garden and we have encouraged a lot of jackdaws and jays up there by placing food for them up there. Also 8 pheasants have appeared too along with three song thrushes !! On tuesday I heard an awful sound of a bird in distress. It was ‘our’ blackbird screaming for his life as the sparrow hawk pinned him down on the floor. I went almost right up to the hawk but he wouldn’t let go as he must have only just caught the poor blackbird.I shouted and he couldn’t lift very high off the grass with the blackbird [its a small male hawk]so managed of get only a little further up our steep garden. Again I went up to it shouting loudly {explained to the neighbours later what was happening!!!}and this time it released the blackbird and he flew over my shoulder tweeting loudly but no worse for wear only an odd feather sticking up but was back on the bird table next morning eating!!The sparrow hawk flew over the fence but came back 10mins later to look for the bird where he dropped it!Only to see me again!! Now he has moved down the garden is appearing in wait under the shrubs where the birds eat and dive in from him. I have discovered he is patiently waiting for the birds to go in there. I first saw him wednesday face to face under there and he shows no fear of me just sits there until I shout etc and he moves but comes back later. We have today put yet more netting, trellis garden canes etc round but need to make sure blackbirds etc are able to feed. He sits right next to the french door area of shrubs so I can see him easily but again and again he appears to mock me!!!!After we put more barracades up he found a space and again he sat inside waiting. The robin froze on the bird table late this afternoon so again I went out this time he was the other side of the trellis so at least the birds saw him and he couldn’t get them. I am not convinced he will not be back tomorrow so had better check!! My poor husband has spent most of the day clambering around the steep garden making some of it safer for the birds to eat away from the hawk.He couldn’t believe it when he saw the sparrow hawk land and sit about 3 feet from my head!I am wondering if it has been reared by a human? It seems every time I go outside its there! I have never known anything like it. I won’t give in and am hoping by the jays etc coming down the garden more often it will move on. The balloon we put up isn’t working any more which is a shame but then this sparrow hawk doesn’t seem to have any fear. Sorry to go on a bit but I’ve never had an experience like this in all the years of bird feeding. I wonder if anyone else has? I will let you know of any future developments as it seems to be changing each week. Kind regards, Bev.

  2. Trish Post author

    Bev, you aren’t going on about it and I understand how important it is to stop this sparrow hawk.

    I’ve never had really bad trouble with a sparrow hawk in the garden, but I know they are about nearby. My problem was with a cat, or cats. Cats can cause such carnage in a garden. Their owners feed them and keep them fit and strong and then let them roam and stalk wild birds. Wild birds need a safe haven on a night as they need their energy for the day. When birds are stalked all night by cats and then have to spend all day searching for food they will either die of exhaustion or be too tired to escape from well fed cats that have not had their sleep disturbed.

    Fancy the sparrowhawk being so close to you and also showing no fear of you. The sparrowhawks I see flying in the countryside would not come near any human. This is very strange isn’t it

    I’m sorry the balloon isn’t working now, but I suppose it has got used to it and the balloon is now part of the garden.

    You deserve a medal for all you are doing, but I know that feeding birds is important. We have two or three blackbirds come very early every morning for food and they flit backwards and forwards through the day. The other wild birds move freely from hedge to cane feeder to cage feeder. I am so sorry you are having this problem . It must be spoiling your garden and your day.

    Here is a link to SONGBIRD SURVIVAL

    It may interest you. Please let us know what happens


  3. Brok

    The balance of nature requires that there should be raptors. They take and dispose of the diseased, the sick and the weak. Raptors like the beautiful sparrow hawk are as essential to the well being of the prey species as the lion is to the great herds of the African plain. The metabolism of birds is such that they cannot go very long without eating and raptors will endeavour to capture a meal wherever they can. Although we may be distressed to see a capture and kill, to allow for this is to assist in nature’s great scheme. Logically, to set up barriers is pure nimbyism. NIMBY – not in my back yard.

  4. Brok

    Further to my last post, I wonder what will happen when the (encouraged) Jays and their cousins the Magpies decide that the meagre pickings of the bird table are not sufficient for their winter metabolism and that a Blue tit or Dunnock or two would make an ideal dietary supplement. Or do we not believe in the predatory instincts of the crow family?

  5. Bev

    Perhaps its in natures great scheme for the sparrow hawks that visit our garden to catch All 4 song thrushes one by one so that soon there will be none surviving. We have 4 sparrowhawks living within a short distance here and they decimate the gardens. Not to mention the bull finches blackbirds, long tailed tits taken before our eyes feeding with young not ill or weak at the time. Bull finches too are in decline . I will continue to try and help our songbirds survive as long as nature and man permits and while a sparrow hawk is a very handsome bird to see we do not wish to see it on our garden in great numbers. While ever the jays and jackdaws chase it away (well thats nature too ) they will continue to be fed on our garden eating nuts and birdcake we put out for them daily. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and enjoyment gained from helping to try and sustain song bird numbers by feeding birds in their gardens.

  6. Trish Post author

    Hello Brok and Hi Bev

    Brok, I know the predatory instincts of the crow family, but sparrowhawks do so much damage and carnage

    Garden birds have enough problems without sparrowhawks decimating an area. I don’t think people realise how much damage they do. The garden birds come to see a garden as a place of safety and a source of food. feeding helps them all through the year, especially during winter. I know you won’t agree but there are just too many sparrowhawks.

    Sparrowhawks don’t just take the weak and the old. I have seen a sparrowhawk catch a young, healthy blackbird. Sparrowhawks take anything that is there and come back until there is nothing left to kill

    Bev, Did you take a look at Songbird Survival? Are you still having a problem with Sparrowhawks or are the Jays and Jackdaws solving the problem?

    I’ve put this on the main page of Bird Table News


  7. .Brok

    Hello again Bev,
    I agree that if the bird table is situated within the hunting area of too many raptors, there will be an apparent imbalance but this imbalance will be localised, based on the fact that raptors cannot hunt in two places at the same time. So while one garden becomes an unfortunate target, birds in nearby gardens will be comparatively safe. While your efforts seem to be providing a pretty decent take away for the raptors, the fact that you seem to be blessed with a variety of song birds who would appear to be of the opinion that the attraction of your garden makes the risk worthwhile means that your efforts are providing a valuable service for the songbirds.
    I can understand the frustration and upset, I am with you all the way as far as feeding songbirds is concerned and once we begin feeding, many birds will come to depend upon a reliable source of food . Unfortunately, the same applies to predators, we are also providing the same service for them. I wish you luck in the coming seasons.

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