Crows and Jackdaws mobbing a sparrowhawk – please read as this is the story of one English garden

Hi Trish, Its been a while since I wrote so thought I would let you know our news on sparrow hawks and crows!! 


I haven’t seen as yet a crow on our garden chasing or indeed eating a song bird but I’m sure things like that happen as Tina wrote in this previous comment. 


As you are aware from my past posts we have a major sparrow hawk problem on our garden. I have in fact had a visit for the last few weeks by crows, joining our jackdaws and jays. This has lead I believe to the two sparrow hawks going hunting across the river on two of my neighbours gardens as if it comes here the crows and jackdaws mob and chase it every time!


This leaves the small birds to eat in relative peace if they are around. On the odd accession they aren’t around the sparrow hawk tries its luck but I have made it more difficult for it.


We bought two ground feeder cages as we have a huge amount of birds so needed more than one. To entice them in we put live mealworms as nothing else seemed to get the blackbirds in! Well its worked and the blackbirds bring their young too and they all sit inside eating .At first I left a door off till they got used to it but have replaced it now and they hop in happily.


Even the small birds love it especially the bullfinches which I find amazing as the seed they eat is sunflower seed hearts on a feeder normally but they are happy to enter a ground cage to eat them from the tray on the floor.


The crows and jackdaws I feed up the garden in a big tray and they love it they eat everything and seem to leave the small birds in peace. The magpies eat there too but they are a bit of a nuisance but the two mallards that have taken up residence on our garden keep them in check from time to time.


Yesterday I saw the sparrow hawk swoop towards the hanging feeder pole but missed because the ten foot garden canes we put around confused it. Then two crows feeding at the same time up the garden,took off after it and it was amazing to see, they flew out of view so I don’t know what happened. In the ground feeder below was a little great tit stood motionless for a good few minutes till he suddenly decided he was safe and carried on eating !So I feel the ground feeders are a success.


My two neighbours have stopped feeding their birds as the hawks had most of them which is so sad. They have more open ground on their gardens so not as much cover as we have, so are looking to change that with covered ground feeders and shrubs etc. It seems the problem is a lot bigger than people believe. Any how we will carry on feeding them all as safe as we can as they are dependant on us now aren’t they.

Hi Bev
Lovely to hear from you.
First – can you tell me which ground feeders you have.  I have a ground feeder but the blackbirds can’t get in as the wire mesh is too small.  This means I have to find various ways to feed the blackbirds separately and that can be a challenge!
How lovely to see all the birds safe in the ground feeders and I’m glad the canes are working with the sparrowhawk.  I still have some canes plus some chicken wire round an area where I put bird food
You are feeding them as safe as you can and they do depend on us don’t they.  they cheer the garden up don’t they.  These garden birds also make me laugh when i see their antics when there are a few different types of garden birds together
they must know they are safe in the ground feeder.  I bet that’s one of the few places they are safe.  It seems amazing how they learn and adapt – even the Bullfinch has adapted and is surviving.
I wonder if we should invent a safe bird’s nest area.  Now there’s a thought
Lovely to hear from you and so pleased you are like me and still feeding these garden birds.  I sometimes wonder that they survive at all
I also wonder if the reason that we don’t get sparrowhawks is because we are troubled with rooks and crows – and they chase the sparrowhawks away here as well.  Maybe
I hope all this rain hasn’t caused too much damage to the young nesting birds.
Take care and thank you for getting in touch.  Hope to hear from you about the type of ground feeder you have
Lets keep feeding these garden birds!!
You seem to have Garden Ground Feeder Cafe in your garden!  Open all Hours!
this is in reply to this post on Bird Table News

2 thoughts on “Crows and Jackdaws mobbing a sparrowhawk – please read as this is the story of one English garden

  1. Bev

    Hi Trish, thanks for reply! The ground feeders we have are both adjustable types , oblong with a pitched type roof. Two of the longer sides are adjustable to let blackbirds etc in and the top pitched roof and back are smaller not adjustable. The great tits etc can still get through the top and the smaller tits too but some are too well fed and prefer the larger opening with the blackbirds. We bought it on line from the RSPB as they were the only place I could find an adjustable one in stock. At first we left the door off until they were used to it but now its fine as I said, the blackbirds use the long side mesh to enter along with the male bullfinches who are too round to get through the small mesh!! I think Vine House farm have similar ones too and other bird food shops. Its just difficult finding somewhere that has them in stock when you need one! I will try and upload a picture of it in use in the not too distant future. We still have the mesh around the shrubs and the canes and wigwams plus shrub cover so there not a lot more we can do. There are two tiny siskins and parents who insist on eating on one feeder only, even though we have a large amount around the garden, so we have placed more canes around that as siskins don’t seem to rush off as fast as the other birds when there is danger spotted. I think the young birds are slower to react any way for a time until they have been out of the nest a few days and become wise to danger etc. My poor neighbour is devastated that she can’t feed her birds like she used to. They have a hawthorn bush and the clinging birds use the feeders in relative safety for a while but the hawk waits for them to fly off and pounces on them. I have to admit its clever but a big nuisance . It does however recognise me as I have been looking after their house while they were on holiday and when I have gone round daily and the hawk has been sat in a tree or on a wall it flies off at great speed! I think its confused as to why I am there and not on my own garden! It doesn’t fly away from me very fast when on my garden it seems to taunt me! Oh well its a continuing saga and will keep you updated. At least the birds here have their two ground feeder cafes and a lot of shrub cover. Its so difficult to over come the hawk problem but we can make it harder for it every day until it moves further away. Kind regards Bev.

  2. Angie Algandar

    hi I need advise I been feeding a family of sparrows and a family of mourning doves before I didn’t have problems with sparrow hawks lately I been getting visits from them I am scared because even if I feed them inside the awning or back porch they wait for them to fly and the poor birds don’t fly as fast please post pictures of the ground feeder or how to keep the hawks away. Thanks you Angie

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