Daily Archives: May 26, 2015

HAWKS ARE EMPTYING OUR GARDENS OF SONG BIRDS

I have recently received comments about sparrowhawks killing our garden birds.  I have been looking through  comments that  other readers have suggested. Below are two recent comments about sparrowhawks and a list of 14 comments / ideas that other readers have sent in over the years.  As sparrowhawks do not like rooks one idea was to put a recording of a rook in the garden.  Please read through the other ideas.

HERE IS THE FIRST OF TWO RECENT COMMENTS

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.

This comment was in reply to this article on Bird Table News

http://birdtablenews.com/2011/02/a-brilliant-idea-to-keep-sparrowhawks-away/

 

And this from Ali

I think I found a victim of a sparrow hawk today in my back garden.

It was a black bird which had been decapitated (no sign of head) … I was distressed and went on line to investigate what could have done this (no feathers or mess nearby) and after one hour I looked out the back windows only to see that the remaining corpse of the bird had disappeared.

It was a fresh kill and I understand sparrow hawks would come back for the rest if it is fresh … is that right? I do not put any bird feed out eg; to avoid vermin … but I do have a very bushy and verdant garden and I always have a lot of blue tits and blackbirds in particular. The do love the birdbath .. so they do come to wash/cool off … I hope I do not find any more of these poor victims!

This comment was in reply to this article on Bird Table News –

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

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HERE IS SOME ADVICE THAT HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN GIVEN BY READERS

1.#

If there are too many attacks try –

  • moving the feeders around, regularly
  • if possible, don’t concentrate the feeders,
  • note the general line of attack and break up the line of flight. I have put in vertical bamboo canes a few inches apart and
  • also have individual feeding spots so that an early warning can be given by a solitary feeding bird.

The worst time of the year is when all the young tits are feeding and the hawks have young too, so this is when tactics are important to reduce carnage before your eyes

2.

From Shell –

We stopped using our bird table because of sparrowhawks. We placed some feeders in thick bushes but the birds prefer to eat from the ground now. I had not option because the hawk kept lingering around ready to swoop. I was going to use the birdtable  again but I thought it may attract the hawk again.

I think they can snatch birds off the ground and that’s why I’ve

  • camouflaged the area with various plants and shrubbery so that it would have a hard job getting to the birds. The hawk seems to have gone now that I have done that, I am still wary though.
  • I’ve fed birds under the bushes too, especially when it’s really windy which they seem to appreciate.
  • There are no cats around so we place the food on ground feeders surrounded by large plants. This has helped a lot.

I would love to put the table back up but the hawk used to wait in the trees and if it happens to fly over it will see them hanging around the table.

From  Arlene –  April 2010

My bird table has a roof and has been enclosed by my husband on three sides by the largest plastic mesh I  could find~ the open side nearest the lounge window.

It took  awhile for them to get used to it but they hop through as though it wasn’t there now.
All the little birds hop through the mesh or through the side bits under the roof and the bigger birds such as Blackbirds come round the back.

3

I  read on the RSPB that the ‘hawks tend to be later risers so I am just going to feed them in the morning now and discourage them in the late afternoon when they are so preoccupied with feeding and easy targets for the ‘hawks. I think it must be mother and daughter sparrowhawks as they are taking the larger birds (could be wrong?) and it looked like the mother was teaching the juvenile how to find food, which is why I might have had the two pigeons go simultaneously tonight.

4.

For a number of years I have used plastic garden mesh, 50mm hole size, on trellis’ around the feeders. Have seen the hawks splat themselves a couple of times on this. I also use a circle of the mesh around the feeder, hung from an inverted metal hanging basket.Until now this has worked a treat and I have witnessed numerous unsucessful attacks, in one case four in a couple of hours. My feeders are near to thorny cover. However I am considering building a large cage of plastic mesh in the bushes at the back of the border and putting the feeders inside it. At least then the birds wont be caught napping. I havnt tried canes but it seems a good idea. As does spreading the feeders out. Any good ideas anybody esle has I would love to know. Regards billm

5.

Here’s some ideas on how to keep hawks away from your birdtables.
Encourage crows to your garden or house roof, these birds will take on both male and females.
Another way which a fellow pigeon keeper uses, is to position a large plastic eagle owl on a fence or another suitable place overlooking the birdtable. These birds feed on hawks! At first the others that use the garden will be wary, they soon get use to their plastic guardian.

This guy also has a large mirror appro 14×24 inches, which he uses to dazzle the hawks as they harass his birds while they’re flying.

Hope these tips have been helpful. One more thing, check the RPRA website, I believe there’s a petition about hawks, these birds are destroying hundreds of racing pigeons worth a small fortune, while leaving feral ones alone

6

There is excessive numbers of birds of prey now,in most areas of the British isles.Braught about by a conservation act in the early eighties,Unfotunatly Sparrow hawks are the biggest condenders,with excessive numbers of breeding pairs.Many town and urban gardens have been desimated of our common birds.I understand there is a growing interest in dropping the protection status on this group of birds of prey…DEFRA ,08459 33 55 77.

7

There needs to be a mass cull of sparrowhawks, or a reduction by removing some eggs (I realise Magpies and crows take young birds, but they do not prey on breeding adults) I have witnessed several breeding birds taken by them, Blackcaps, Blackbirds, Blue tits, Sparrows.

8

There needs to be a mass cull of sparrowhawks, or a reduction by removing some eggs (I realise Magpies and crows take young birds, but they do not prey on breeding adults) I have witnessed several breeding birds taken by them, Blackcaps, Blackbirds, Blue tits, Sparrows.

9

I think the law needs to be changed by removing the protection this bird enjoys. It is getting to the point where I may have to introduce my own’ garden law ‘ before its too late !

10

the only way to stop sparrow hawk predation , is shoot them,too many of them and too many guttless law abiding people. Screw the law!! Wake up before it”s too late, and shoot them!! End of problem !! Just don”t get caught by the airy fairy no nothing greeny do gooders!!

11

the only way to stop sparrow hawk predation , is shoot them,too many of them and too many guttless law abiding people. Screw the law!! Wake up before it”s too late, and shoot them!! End of problem !! Just don”t get caught by the airy fairy no nothing greeny do gooders!!

12

My latest gimmick is using a wireless Bluetooth speaker and sending crow calls through it, from my smart phone. This is fine if your in the vicinity. Another, is sending an European eagle owl call through it. We don’t have this owl in the country generally, but these wonderful birds will feed on sparrow hawks

13

I bought a plastic owl & place it near the feeder & hedges where the birds congregate. It has worked. I stopped feeding the birds for about two weeks put the owl in place & I have now seen lots of sparrows & young back in the garden.

14

The sparrowhawk is back with a vengeance! I have a small 9wk old puppy & am too scared to leave it in the garden on it’s own. So I will stop feeding the birds until it goes again. A friend’s kitten was taken from her garden, not far from here recently. Also small chickens were nearly taken, the owner’s spaniel saw it off.

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Has anyone else any opinions / ideas?