Tag Archives: sparrowhawk

THE SHORT LIFE OF A HAPPY YOUNG GREENFINCH

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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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 –

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

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

The Breeze by Ernie Teal

THE BREEZE
Gently the breeze plays with the blossom of the cherry trees,
spilling the petals and disturbing the bees,
caressing the beeches and rippling the corn,
carrying messages of another dawn.

 

A blackbird awakening fluted his song!
But alas his greeting was not for long!
A sparowhawk up aloft that morn and
keen to feed her newly born,
clutched the chorister from his bower.

 

To the songster had come at this early hour,
a death as swift as that hawk in flight:
more would die ‘ere day turned night.
For nature is ever red in tooth and claw.
He who made all things decreed it so.

 

The feathers of the innocent fluttered down,
covering the earth in a chastening gown.
That gentle breeze played with them
as it passed by
with a whisper, or was it a sigh.
Ernie Teal

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Ernie is on Radio Humberside on a Sunday morning and I heard him read this poem. 

I asked him for a copy of it and he kindly sent it to me.

Ernie knows such a lot about the countryside, about animals, birds and he also has a rich store of memories. 

Thanks Ernie for sending me this.

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I do agree that  it is natural for birds of prey to attack.  I think the problem comes when the number of birds of prey becomes so high that it puts songbirds at risk.  What do you think – if you have time please let me know.

bird eating bird April 2009

Yes, I saw, or rather, heard a whoosh and a crash as ‘something’ landed in the small apple tree near some tall, mature trees; to see.

then two or three small squeaks then nothing. Then I remembered what I actually saw, which was the pleated fan of feathers of the tail of the bird (the sparrowhawk).

The sqeaks were probably from the prey, a blackbird. It’s cruel, but nature has no conscience. 

There’s no MacDonalds out there for the hungry! It’s the survival of the fittest! A brilliant display of feathers and an event which not everyone is priviledged

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The above is a vivid description and I’d like to say thanks for sending this description of nature at work.

Sparrowhawk with its talons round a blackbird

A few minutes ago I was just going to walk through the gate when I heard a ‘squealing’, a rush of wings and also branches moving

Then, actually at my feet, landed a sparrowhawk with its talons round a blackbird.   I was so shocked to see the death throes of a blackbird just where I was standing.

I had never been so close to a sparrowhawk.  I was looking down on it and at the blackbird that was caught up in the Sparrowhawk’s  talons.

The blackbird was ‘squealing, struggling’ and trying to get away but there was no chance. 

The sparrowhawk  did not have it’s  it’s wings outstretched and had the blackbird  ‘pinned’ to the ground with it’s talons round the blackbird. 

 

Sparrowhawk - a bird of prey

Sparrowhawk - a bird of prey

I did not take the photograph of the sparrowhawk 

Blackbird – a garden bird

blackbird

I moved slightly and  the sparrowhawk suddenly let go of the blackbird.  It flew upwards and into the hedge – it must just have seen me.  

I think up until then the sparrowhawk was oblivious to me.

The blackbird, leaving behind a lot of feathers, ran and hopped into the base of the hedge and disappeared.

I shouted and shook the hedge, trying to frighten the sparrowhawk away. Then I realised I might frighten the blackbird out into the open, making it easy prey for the sparrowhawk.

The hedge was a laurel hedge.  A laurel hedge will not keep out  sparrowhawks because it does not have thorns to keep the sparrowhawk out.  Sparrowhawks cannot take the chance of damaging their feathers on thorns so they never go into bramble bushes etc .

There was nothing I could do.  For a moment I became involved with  nature and wildlife which we don’t seem to have any control over. 

What else goes on in my garden that I’m not aware of.  Who does the garden belong to – me or the birds.

Sparrowhawk in my Garden – Short Video

Last October I was trying to get a video of the sparrows round the feeder. As if by magic  all the sparrows flew away.  

A second later this sparrowhawk flew in. I only caught it on camera for a few seconds.   Apologies for the video being short and not 100% clear, .

This  shows sparrows know when a predator is about.

I think it also shows that sparrowhawks do not only go for weak and ill birds

Sparrowhawk numbers

I think  the RSPB believe that all hawks should be protected.

I don’t believe that.  Sparrowhawks seem to be coming more common and numerous. 

Sparrowhawks have no natural enemies so if they take up residence in an area and raise young each year they will need food.

A gentleman in this area has seen sparrowhawks take song thrushes time after time.  I think the Song Thrush numbers are  under threat.  The sparrowhawk is not

If the sparrowhawk is protected and has no naturel enemies then they will become common – and then maybe will not need protection.

I belong to the RSPB, but I have also joined Songbird Survival.  Songbird Survival is a charity trying to stop the decline in bird numbers.

It believes that one of the reasons for the decline in bird numbers is uncontrolled predation.

So we have two opposing views. Interesting. 

I’ll put more information on about Songbird Survival soon.  Or you can just google Songbird Survival.