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Old 8th August 2006, 07:59 PM   #1
Ronnie
 
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Smile Sparrow Hawk in garden

We were amazed this evening to see a female Sparrow Hawk with a pidgeon or dove, on our lawn. It was right besides the conservatory and quite unconcerned as it plucked its prey. It was fascinating to watch, although it did leave a bit of a mess of feathers all over the garden when it flew off with the carcass!! I have seen a sparrow hawk before in the garden but nothing like this. I wondered if she was feeding young nearby. If so is it likely that she will return again to the garden. We do get a lot of birds as we are surrounded by trees. We are in a residential area about 4.5 miles from the city but on the edge of green belt. Are Sparrow Hawks being forced into built up areas now due to loss of habitat?
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Old 9th August 2006, 09:56 AM   #2
optrex
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I'm not far from you Ronnie nad had what I thought was my first Sparrow Hawk attack in my back garden this year. However, after looking up images on the internet I am now convinced it was a kestrel due to the blue markings on its wingtips.

Many of the reports I get of Sparrow Hawk attackes are from people in urban areas though. Typically Dudley and Wolverhampton, so you are not alone
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Old 9th August 2006, 10:27 AM   #3
Ashley Bastian
 
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Default Birds Of Prey

In the last two weeks I have had a bird of prey either a sparrow hawk or a kestrel visit my garden. I know I shouldnt, but I feel sad for the house sparrows - I have at least 20 at any one time feeding in my garden. Is there any way i can discourage these hawks etc from visitingmy back garden?
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Old 9th August 2006, 10:39 AM   #4
Ronnie
 
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Hi there

Thanks for the info about birds of prey. The one we had was definitely a female sparrow hawk, apparently they do take larger birds. It's interesting to know about these sightings in urban gardens. Actually I'm hoping she comes back - blood thirsty I know - but she was a beautiful bird and to see it close up plucking away at the feathers was really quite amazing and something we had not seen before. However, the bird population in the garden this morning is rather sparse - even the wood pidgeons are absent - so I presume she is about somewhere. With regard to Ashley's query I think it would be difficult to deter them from visiting the garden without detering the rest of the bird population too. As they are quite infrequent perhaps it is best to let nature take its course??
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Old 23rd August 2006, 10:06 AM   #5
Jenny
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Ronnie,

I've regular visits from a female sparrowhawk and agree - bit grisely - but very beautiful birds. I lived on outskirts of Leeds and had daily visits by a sparrowhawk there as well - she'd well cottoned on to which gardens fed birds!

Ashley,

I've found that the more birds you have, whilst you're likely to attract sparrowhawks, the more eyes there are to look out for them. My feeders, especially the ground table, are all placed outside cat jumping distance from shrubs but close enough for the birds to get quickly to cover. Chaffinches are "my" sparrowhawk's frequent prey (we're inundated with them!) but she's partial to collared dove as well when she's lucky.
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Old 24th September 2006, 03:50 PM   #6
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I watched a female snatch a starling from my birdtable and then proceed to pluck and eat it, the whole process took 80 minutes from start to end and all that was left was the beak (in two pieces) and a pile of feathers. there was no waste and it was a fantastic site to see.
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Old 31st May 2007, 10:28 AM   #7
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I have watched several sparrowhawks eat either collared doves or starlings in my garden. They arrive with such speed as well.

One afternoon I was sitting in a chair on the lawn and there was a bit of a commotion in the trees. At the same time there was a 'whoosh' and a sparrowhawk flew straight past me and sat on the garden fence about 20 feet away from me.

It stayed for at least 5 minutes and although I would have loved to have my camera, I dare not move a muscle in case I frightened it away. So, I just sat motionless and watched it. A marvellous bird.

I used to think a pile of feathers on the lawn was evidence of next doors cat getting lucky, but now I am not so sure.

Another bird we get far more of here now, are buzzards. They are mostly quite high but last week one was gliding around quite low over the back gardens, and the underside of its wings were beautiful. Ten years ago I counted myself lucky to see the occasional one on a trip to the Cotswolds. Now they are over my house.
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Old 2nd October 2007, 10:40 PM   #8
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Default Sparrowhawk Behaviour

We have both a male and a female sparrowhawk which visit our garden in Perthshire. I have noticed some very interesting behaviour from the male which displays how intelligent these birds of prey must be. On most occasions they capture their prey in traditional hawk style by swooping into the garden and plucking some little finch from the bird table. I have also seen them swoop and pursue small birds in flight with stunning aerobatic skills. However, our male bird has developed a rather original method of hunting. I have watched him sit as still as a stone under the bird table for very long periods of time to wait for the return of birds which have scattered as a result of his earlier presence. When the table is full of little finches and blue tits feeding, he leaps up from below and takes the birds by surprise as they are all busy looking out for a strike from above. I have attached a picture of him doing this. I hope you find it as interesting as I do and I would like to hear from anyone else who has witnessed this type of behaviour.
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Old 3rd October 2007, 07:56 AM   #9
wardy
 
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I Had a SparrowHawk capture a Dove in my garden last night. I live in the Dudley area and was suprised to read in an earlier post that there seems to have been a number of sightings in this area.

The bird proceeded to pluck almost every feather from the Dove and then flew into one of the trees in my garden with the carcass. We have a number of trees in our garden and we do tend to get quite a few birds but i have never seen a bird of prey in the area.

I have captured the whole incident on camera and shall keep an eye out for the bird in the future. Does anyone know what their range would be, I.E would this bird have a nest locally or could it have travelled from further afar?

I considered letting my cat out to see what would ensue... However i thoight better of it... Who would you put your money on?
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Old 3rd October 2007, 08:14 AM   #10
Shamal
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Hi Wardy.
Sparrowhawks are very abundant birds of prey and there aren't many urban areas without them. If you see a bird of prey in an urban garden, the chances are that it is a Sparrowhawk.

It may well be a local bird but at this time of year you can get young birds spreading out finding new territories.

Doves are quite large prey for a Sparrowhawk, so it is quite likely that this would be a female Sparrowhawk which is far larger than the male, though it is not totally unknown for male Sparrowhawks to take prey as large as this.

Sparrowhawks have the ability to chase birds through dense undergrowth, which you won't find many bird of prey doing.

A domestic cat would have little problem with a Sparrowhawk.
Regards,
Shamal

Quote:
Originally Posted by wardy View Post
I Had a SparrowHawk capture a Dove in my garden last night. I live in the Dudley area and was suprised to read in an earlier post that there seems to have been a number of sightings in this area.

The bird proceeded to pluck almost every feather from the Dove and then flew into one of the trees in my garden with the carcass. We have a number of trees in our garden and we do tend to get quite a few birds but i have never seen a bird of prey in the area.

I have captured the whole incident on camera and shall keep an eye out for the bird in the future. Does anyone know what their range would be, I.E would this bird have a nest locally or could it have travelled from further afar?

I considered letting my cat out to see what would ensue... However i thoight better of it... Who would you put your money on?
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