Saving our Songbirds

Hi Trish

Sorry its been a while but at last ive managed to catch up with bird table news again.

As you know we have too had a major problem with sparrowhawks for a few years now – in our rural garden and reading the latest readers comments and problems made me realise that the sparrow hawk population seems to be increasing still.

From our point of view I would like to pass on the following info for any one interested; so far this year (the first time for 3 years)we have not had the same amount of visits and attacks from a number of hawks. I can honestly say its been wonderful to see the huge amount of fledglings successfully reared by the following, Bull finches 6, spotted woodpecker 5 sparrows 23 at least,Starlings 30+,blackbirds15+,goldfinches 8,siskins Song Thrush 2,great tits and blue tits too many to count plus dunnocks 4 robins and 4 coal tit fledglings. Why i am writing this is because last last year at this time it was a totally different story. Lots of our birds were picked off one by one by a sparrowhawk family of 4!!!I have mentioned the problems in my previous posts.What have we done?

Well the following has happened
1-we surrounded our feeder pole with 2″X4″ wi re mesh.
2-we also put it under and intertwined in a lot of shrubs as the hawks were powering in after the birds before. This size mesh means the blackbirds,thrushes and starling size birds can also escape into cover as well as the small ones . The hawks hate it and i have witness the female particularly flapping to try and get in to no avail.
3-Ground feeder cages and feeder cages in general have helped a lot too and feeding the birds close to cover.
4We tried the owl deterrent and balloon deterrents but to no avail.
5Well, also another the thing thats happened is really amazing. There are 2 buzzards that have taken up residence in our area close to where the hawks nested. Also would you believe we also have seen 1 red kite !!!My neighbours saw it a couple of times lately too as i thought i had imagined it!! Along with the jackdaws, crows and the swallows (they are back and mobbed the hawk last year)

I hope the sparrowhawks have been driven away to a new area as we havent seen them or heard them calling at all for a few months now-touch wood!

It really was very distressing Trish as you know from my comments in the past to see the garden birds being killed.I believe that the combination of the wire etc defences in our garden and the arrival of buzzards in the area is helping to keep the hawks away. The buzzards don’t appear to come after the garden birds hopefully voles etc but my friend is a vet and lives nearby. He says the sparrow hawk in his opinion looks upon the buzzards and kite as a predator to them so has either moved on or been predidated on by them.Whatever way we are so happy to see life in the garden in great numbers again.
What I would say is the wire mesh 2″x4″ (sorry I still work in inches) has literally in our opinion been a life saver for our birds so if people with the same problems as we had want to try it I suggest they look on ebay as its so much cheaper a roll than from
garden centres and DIY outlets.

Our hawks had no fear of me at all and it really was distressing to loose our birds daily! One time last year we had 4 adult song thrushes each one picked off by the hawks.As song thrushes are on the red list I find the RSBP attitude to hawks being protected shocking!
Anyway I hope this helps some of the people with the same problems we had because it really is so sad to see the birds killed off in our own gardens.
Only time will tell how long it lasts but for now we are making the most of the abundance of bird life once again in the garden and I hope other readers are finding the same. Of course we cant invite certain species to take up residence when we want them to but for all the people that agree with the life style of the sparrow hawk I am sure there are many like myself that say about the jackdaws swallows, buzzards etc mobbing the hawks. Thats nature too!!!
Good luck and we will keep you posted and look forward to seeing other people ideas on dealing with this problem.
kind regards Bev

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As you will see I received this from Bev.  She has solved her longstanding struggle against the Sparrowhawk.   I think she has solved a lot of other people’s problems as well.  I think she has also saved the lives of a lot of songbirds.  WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA.   I  put cane poles round one of my bird feeders, but the birds still have to fly to the feeder.  Having the bird table  in some shrubs  (or a hedge) makes it a lot more safer for the birds.  After reading this I thought of putting some wire along part of my hedge, but i would have to put it on both sides and as it’s a long hedge not sure it would work.

Thank you Bev.  Lovely to hear from you again.  Happy bird feeding and happy bird watching.  It’s brilliant you care so much and have taken the time to sort this out.  Thanks for passing it onto us.  I’ll put another post on with a shortened version of what you have done

This is from an article that started it’s life in 2010.  I hope the ideas have helped people who have a problem

From 2010  Ways to Stop http://birdtablenews.com/2010/03/ways-to-stop-sparrowhawk-attacks-in-gardens/

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