Category Archives: Bird Eating Bird

A Young Greenfinch Remembered?

 

 

The Power of the Internet! In 2011 Ashley wrote the comment below.  In 2015 Darren replied.

2011 from Ashley  –  Sparrowhawk attacks – I’m hunting for ways to stop these attacks also. I’ve read all your posts here and I’m feeling a bit deflated, but will not rest until I find the right solution!

I’ll try not to bore you all – Yesterday I opened my patio door for the cat to go out and straight away a greenfinch landed on the ground, fluffed it’s feathers-up and went to sleep. Needless to say I shut the door and kept the cat in.

I watched the bird a while and it was very happy. A young one. It woke up a little bit later and had a swim, a drink and some food and then left. Today it came back. It was happily drinking from the bird bath. A big bird swooped in. Immediately I thought it was a clumsy wood pigeon.

Of course it turned out to be a sparrowhawk and as far as I can tell it got the young bird. The young one was so dopey it would be very unlikely to have got away. Such a waste of a happy little soul.

Like a previous said about the number of birds they used to have – we used to have 50+ tree sparrows every day, feeding, bathing and drinking. Amongst others like the tits and finches. Now we’re lucky to 10 of any variety.

I’m wondering if I just stop encouraging the birds to come to our garden for a while and stop feeding them …

Ashley

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I replied –

Hi Ashley,   It is a problem when sparrowhawks descend on a garden.  I think there are more around than there used to be.

I don’t know what to say about stopping feeding the garden birds for a while.  It would stop them visiting your garden and so save them from the attacks. But would the sparrowhawk attack them somewhere else?

What with cats, hawks and freezing winters where food is scarce – our garden birds do well to survive

Have you thought of this Hawk Deterrant Balloon.  Here is the link –

 We’d love to know how you get on with this problem. 

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In  2015 Darren replied –

Sparrowhawk has to eat too! I regularly have a male and female sparrowhawk take birds and the numbers don’t deplete… They have now plummeted since they renovated the houses and removed bushes ect in the local area.. This removes nesting spaces etc. Could be something like that in your area.  Darren

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Darren makes an interesting point.  Maybe it is a combination of both, but sparrowhawks are a problem.

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This thread started at –

http://birdtablenews.com/2011/10/the-short-life-of-a-happy-young-greenfinch/

Because of the Internet another point of view had been aired and also a young greenfinch has been remembered.

Trisha

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?

SPARROWS IN USA ATTACKING ONE LONE SPARROW

I get people contacting me from all over the world.  Randy from Iowa, USA has been in touch.  Strangely it is very similar to my previous article – Randy says – This is something that I’ve been fascinated by lately. I work in agriculture in northwest Iowa, and there are piles of grain everywhere, which attract a lot of sparrows, and I see these fights a lot. Every few weeks during the spring and summer, it seems. I haven’t actually seen a fatality happen, as the fights move on quickly as the victim bird tries to flee, but because of the viciousness, there is no question in my mind that the only outcomes to these fights would be that the bird dies or manages to escape. There is a lot of food for them where I work (thus why there are so many of them), so I know it’s not a food shortage situation. I’ll hear a bird commotion, a lot of excited sounding chirping, and then I’ll see a group of sparrows ganging up on one particular sparrow, chasing it and viciously attacking it. And I’ve always wondered what it is that sets these fights off

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This is from an article in Bird Table News that was published in 2010

http://birdtablenews.com/2010/05/yes-sparrows-do-kill-other-sparrows/ Has anyone else seen this happening?

Bird eating Bird

Ruth contacted me with this –

We were horrified to see six sparrows pecking at a dead sparrow this morning. Didn’t know if they had killed it or not but never seen this before and we have always fed and have dozens of the birds in the garden.

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This in in reply to this article

http://birdtablenews.com/2010/05/yes-sparrows-do-kill-other-sparrows/

IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPARROW HAWKS IN THE GARDEN DO NOT PUT BIRD FOOD OUT. TRUE OF FALSE?

I HAVE RECEIVED THIS POINT OF VIEW ABOUT SPARROWHWKS I was somewhat bemused and dumbfounded to read many of the posts concerning sparrow hawks attacking bird feeders. One must appreciate that if one is to place a food larder for a predatory animal in its clear view, the said animal will take advantage as that is what it is fundamentally programmed to do.

It seems that many of the contributors readily supply food to advantage Finches, Tits and other small birds and then decry lunch to the sparrow hawk that will be singling out the less able and weaker small birds maintaining a strong gene pool for the future.

I have no doubt that the same people that find the sparrow hawk so abhorrent will somewhat incongruently find the urban Peregrine Falcon a wondrous spectacle; the difference is that, with the latter the killing is done at a distance and the gory foremost details of na ture are performed out of sight. W

e must also consider that much of the food presented as bird attractant, admittedly in good faith is bought in pre-packaged plastic bags and then carefully placed in lexan tubes and vinyl net bags that will ultimately contribute to land fill and global pollution in general.

My advice is that if you do not want sparrow hawks in the garden do not put bird feeders in it.

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  DOES ANYONE ELSE WANT TO HAVE THEIR SAY?

Just  a short reply for now – there are many more sparrwhawks than there used to be. The sparrowhawk does not single out the less able and weaker birds.  The sparrowhawk will hunt an area until there is nothing more to hunt.

SPARROWHAWKS AND THE RSPB

I’ve received a comment from Vic.  Please read it.

 

Sparrowhawk visits to my small urban garden in the West Midlands used to be few and far between, but the sparrowhawk visits have now increased to such a huge extent that the usual amount of wild bird food I put out is not being eaten at the end of any particular day.

Rats are on the increase (there are way more rats than people now) and these disease-riddled rodents are being attracted into gardens by night to feast on any leftover bird food.

I keep decreasing the amount of food I put out for the birds but, thanks to sparrowhawk attacks, the little birds are visiting my garden less and less often for fear of being lanced by hawk talons and eaten alive.

I used to be a member of the RSPB but unsubscribed when I realised that the preservation of hawks is more important to them than the livelihood of the beautiful little birds that frequent our gardens and give us all so much pleasure.

I’m sick of seeing plucked feathers plastered all over my garden and have taken a dislike to all manner of hawks. OK, RSPB, sort this carnage out, NOW!

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Dear Vic,  I, and many other people, understand your anger and feeling of not being able to do anything. A lot of people seem to have unsubscribed from the RSPB.

There is a webpage called Songbird Survival that you may like to look at

Below is part of a comment from  Gary – Here’s some ideas on how to keep hawks away from your birdtables.

1.Encourage crows to your garden or house roof, these birds will take on both male and females.

2.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.

3.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.

4.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

Note from Trisha – the RPRA is the Royal Pigeon Racing Association http://www.rpra.org/

Hope this gives you some ideas and hope Vic

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Vic got in touch after reading this post.

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

I wrote it  in 2010 and readers have been reading and commenting ever since.

MAGPIES KILLING A COLLARED DOVE

 

I received this from a worried bird lover –

A gang of very aggressive Magpies have just moved into our area.

I heard a lot of noise and looked out to see a collared dove being carried through the sky by one of them.

It was awful to see and now this morning I heard another loud squabble only to see them laying into one of their own!

I opened the window and they all flew away.

I just hope they don’t hang round here too long as they wouldn’t look out of place in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds

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I hope we aren’t fighting a losing battle trying to help garden birds survive.  Magpies kill so many birds and in Spring  they raid so many nests.  They do so much damage.  One nest of eggs gone in a flash

This is linked to an article I wrote in July 2009 and which readers are still picking up on. I wrote it about a Magpie raiding a blackbirds nest.  If you’d like to read more and read what problems other people have had with Magpies please click the link below

Magpies raiding a blackbirds nest

MAGPIE KILLING BLUE TITS

 

After 3 years of having an empty nest box in our garden, we have a blue tit nesting.

Then 3 days ago a chick was seen peeping out. Soon after, the chick left the box and hid behind some plants in the garden, but was not able to fly.

 Darkness fell and we had to leave the fledgling. It was nowhere to be found in the morning. Today another fledgling came from the nest but we thought it stood a better chance as it was earlier in the morning.

My husband was on guard watching when a magpie swooped and tried to pick it up, but the magpie dropped it and flew off when my husband ran out and chased it away. The chick seemed to recover ok. But in the time it took my husband to unlock a door to let me into our house when I arrived back from shopping, the magpie had swooped down and picked up the chick.

I saw it fly off with the chick in its beak and then it landed on a nearby rooftop where it began to rip the chick apart.

All this happened in about 30 seconds and we are now afraid that this could have happened even more without us knowing as the adult blue tit seems to have left the nest. We are so so sad !!

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I’m sad and angry. 

Take a look at this link

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1351054/Crows-magpies-trapped-killed-cull-protect-songbirds.html

Why not join Song Bird Survival.  I have

CATS AND SPARROWHAWKS

 

I have had two comments yesterday,which were similar, because they are about birds being preyed on.

John says –

It’s a load of rubbish “sparrowhawks go for the weaklings  They attack so silently and swiftl.  They will kill and eat any bird up to the size of a pigeo.  In fact one of their favourite  meals of recent years is the very fit, well muscled racing pigeon, and is well hated for its constant attacks on them.

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Stan says –

I was raised in a rural NZ region and  have always lived with animals- cats especially.   The little darlings certainly may catch birds, but most times they’ll bring prey back home to exchange for praise & tastier nibbles !

The poor bird will usually be shocked (and often needs a dark warm place to recover), but  perhaps half of the birds we’ve had delivered survive to fly off.    But in my experiences cats far prefer mice (which they play with and eventually  EAT), and they do mankind an immense favour by keeping rodents at bay.

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Interesting

Magpies divebombing a nest, keeping smaller birds off the feeders, attacking a cat and drinking from a dog’s bowl

I have had magpies dive bombing a nest at the front of my house,

 

they are drinking out of my dog s bowl

 

and two of them were attacking a cat in my neighbours tree,

 

they won t let the smaller birds eat the food i have hanging in the tree for them.

 

they walk about my lawn when im in the garden they have no fear .

 

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Hi Valerie, Magpies can do so much harm.  Why aren’t magpies  spoken about when there is talk of a reduction in garden birds?

JOIN SONGBIRD SURVIVAL   http://www.songbird-survival.org.uk/

THEY ARE TRYING TO SAVE SONGBIRDS WITH SCIENCE.  AT LEAST TAKE A LOOK AT THEIR WEBPAGE