Tag Archives: sparrowhawks




When we attract birds to our gardens by putting bird food out we often also attract birds of prey such as Sparrowhawks.  I have been writing about this problem and readers have been getting in touch

This photo shows such a good idea put into  practice.  It must be worth a try as it does not harm the sparrowhawk – just frightens it away.  Elaine has had it hanging in her garden  for 6 weeks and it has not deflated. 

It’s not a technical idea is it?  But it is such a simple idea – put something big and frightening in the garden. 

 This is what Elaine said

Hi, sorry not to have got back to you, had the dreaded cough virus.

Well so far, no sightings of the sparrowhawk. I havent actually strung the deterrent up as was instructed, mainly because of trying to find poles and where to attach them at the house end, that extend at least 15 foot in height. So for the time being I have managed to hang it in the apple tree, which is not advised in the summer because of the foliage covering it. Unfortunately it doesnt have a non return type valve like a beach air bed etc. so you need plenty of puff and I had to stick my tongue over the hole each time I drew for breath and then mad panic to get the stopper in!! I have had all sorts of comical remarks from neighbours and the gas engineer thought I was celebrating the chinese new year!!

You can see it here: http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk174/jen26-bucket/HawkDeterrent.jpg

Anyway, its been there for 6 weeks now in all the awful weather we have had and only showing slight signs of deflation, so I am hoping it will do the trick.  


If you are interested in finding out more and perhaps buying one then here is the website Elaine told me about



I’m so pleased there are other people like me who get involved with bird life in their gardens.  I have put all sorts of makeshift contraptions round birdtables and bird feeders in an attempt to stop larger birds get all the bird food.  I sometimes think I must be mad doing all this.  I’ve put canes round bird tables, covered the ground feeder so that it became a sort of igloo for the birds in all the snow – but I am not mad?! 

Is anyone  else ‘not mad’, but still doing their bit in the garden to help out garden birds.  Let me know

 It is all worth it when I see blue tits, dunnocks, sparrows, chaffinches and other garden birds ‘relaxing’ and ‘feeling at home’ inside these makeshift feeders.

  Below are the notes, ideas and problems about sparrowhawks in the garden.


Trisha, Bird Table News


Hi,  life is becoming stressful because of a sparrowhawk. 

I found this a week or so ago and have sent away for it, it was only £15 including recorded delivery.  I havent had a chance to rig it up yet.


The guy from the website told me to attach a piece of rot proof twine to a tree one end and the house the other about 15 feet above the ground. 

This is proving a little difficult at the moment and I have even considered buying a window cleaners pole as I am determined to try and keep this awful bird out.  They are causing the reduction in our song birds. 

Anyway, since reading the pack today, the manufacturer suggests attaching it to a fence post or similar, so I guess I will try that first before going to the expense of poles etc.  They are apparently pretty effective and there is a money back guarantee. I dont know if you are a u.k. or u.s. website but this product is supplied from a company in the u.s. so must be available there as well.  Hope this helps.



Thank you for sending this Elaine. 

Thank you for caring for our British Birds. Let us know how you get on with it. 

This weather is so freezing that any job outside is difficult.  I get frozen feeding the birds, brushing the snow away and doing other outside jobs, so I’m sure you will be cold trying to put up this sparrowhawk deterrant.

I must say though that the other day I felt sorry for a sparrowhawk.  It was flying low over snow covered fields.  I watched it for a while and there was no sign of life aywhere on the white countryside.  I bet that is why one has come to your garden. 


Sparrowhawks are a nightmare in the garden.

We had 6 pairs of blackbirds and the sparrowhawk had the lot, plus a pair of thrushes.

We also had 22 collared doves and it had everyone. when it had cleared the garden out it just leaves – to find another garden to decimate.

We have tried to grow things round the bird table and put obsticles up so the sparrowhawk cannot just swoop in and take feeding birds. These vandals have to be checked


I received the above comment from Sally at Top Veg. I asked two different organisations and received two very different replies


It is most distressing for bird lovers who try to help song birds. Our charity is fighting the entrenched view of the conservation establishment that everything finds its own balance – this in our managed environment is nonsense.

Our research with the BTO and the University of Reading is aimed to show up the real dangers of uncontrolled predation.

The reply above is from SONGBIRD SURVIVAL


The sparrowhawk issue is one that many people with bird tables find hard. Sparrowhawks were decimated in the 1960 with farm chemicals and following the banning of these they started to recover. There is now a healthy population and anywhere that their food congregates they will feed.

I am not suggesting we should not feed the birds and enjoy watching them, just that we have to accept that predator birds eat others.






For and against sparrowhawks

I received two comments about sparrowhawks –

Thomas said,

I don’t think you can ever blame natural predators for doing what they do naturally.

Songbird numbers have declined because of changes in our farming and living practices (lack of food and nest sites) and probably due to ever increasing numbers of cat ownership (there is stong evidence cat predation takes millions of songbirds each year), none of these are natural controls in this country.

  • It’s always a very easy route to blame a natural predator, because then we don’t have to make changes to our lives. Many natural wild predators do not have predators themselves, but the fact of the matter is that what keeps them in check is numbers of its prey items. If a predator out eats its food source, it will then either starve or just breed less and then its food source should recover.Don’t forget that sparrowhawks and song thrushes have been continually existing alongside each other far longer than we have been around and should we disappear they would continue to do so.
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    Liz said,

  • My garden in Aberdeen has been visited by sparrohawks which have taken a few of my precious garden birds which I love and cherish.

    When I visited the RSPB website and phoned to ask for advice, I found them more interested in the welfare of birds of prey and the introduction of more of them into the area (which is highlighted in our local paper and seems to come under ‘conservation’), although they did send me a fact sheet detailing ways to deter sparrowhawks, like hanging up CD’s from trees, which hasn’t worked. We have also a problem with crow/rooks/ravens which swoop on our baby birds which have flown into our garden to be fed by their parents.

    [ad#125x125square]I am very interested in knowing more about ‘Songbird Survival’ and any ways to protect baby birds from predators.

    With reference to cats – I have a high fence which I have nailed ‘anti-cat’ rubberised prong lengths which stop cats from gaining access. I am so glad to find people concerned about garden birds. Cheers. Liz