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Old 27th March 2009, 06:04 PM   #1
ScopsOwl
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Smile Male Sparrowhawk in our Garden

What a treat we had today after getting soaked through while out on out birding trip around the Priory at Bedford - yesterday

Only a few minutes ago we had a Male Sparrow hawk in our garden. He was on the hunt for our Sparrows in our Hedge. He had dinner on his mind.

The pictures are haphazard as we had to grab the camera quickly and it is only a Coolpix snap shot type. I was looking out over the garden because we had been doing some tidying up yesterday when he suddenly plopped down on our Green Recycle bin just outside the kitchen window. The bin is parked just in front of our Privet hedge, he then hopped onto the fence behind the bin then from there just dived into the hedge. I never expected that I thought he might have been more precious about his plumage and would not want to risk getting anything damaged with such thuggish behaviour. He chased out the Sparrows/birds who are hiding in there because the hedge shook about a bit and then he reappeared on the bin again.

DING, DING round 2.

He landed on the bin again then hopped on to our fence once more, and then jumps off and disappears into next doors garden. I thought oh well that was a treat getting such a close up look at him. Then he comes rocketing over the fence back into our garden does a sort of half loop and dives into the hedge again once more to try to chase out the sparrows. He is tenacious and cunning.

DING, DING round 3.

He landed on top of the bin again. Then this time he dives straight for the gap between the hedge and the fence and so into the back of the hedge again, foliage moving about a couple of birds come shooting out. Then he immerged out of the hedge again unsuccessful as he is on the bin watching the privet.

DING, DING round 4.

Itís the same ploy as round 2 he sneaks over to next doors back garden, then appears going at full throttle into our hedge, and this time birds fly out, out shoots a bird past our window heading south it is so fast canít tell what it is but he is after it.

What excitement! I feel so lucky to have been so close to the action

The other half had seen a female sparrow hawk in the garden about a month ago I wonder if they are a pair?
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Old 28th March 2009, 11:55 AM   #2
Jandy
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That's amazing, Kathy! How exciting for you! And how handy of him to hang about for a bit so that you could snap him!
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Old 28th March 2009, 03:04 PM   #3
ScopsOwl
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hi Jandy

Thank you for your comments.

Yes, the Spawk was not worried about our presence by the window, and liked to sit on our Green bin a lot!

He was solely intent on getting a hold of his dinner. I wonder if he caught what he was after. It was a LBJ so either it was a Sparrow or a Dunnock.

I am sure that Mr Spawk will be back. I see that the Sparrows are not too keen on our Privet Hedge at the moment. I can see why though
Hope that they come back with all their confidence intact once more.
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Old 29th March 2009, 01:02 PM   #4
Barbara Jane
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Hi Hazelnuts

I wondered how you knew the difference between the male and female, but after looking in my bird book, I see they have different colourings. How exciting to have them in your garden. I get big birds of prey here, but am unable to say which ones they are, they attack the pigeons and eat them in the garden but I can never get near enough to see what they are, when they see me coming they take off with the bird in their beak and eat it in the vineyard next door!

Barbara Jane
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Old 29th March 2009, 01:25 PM   #5
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Hi Hazelnuts

I wondered how you knew the difference between the male and female, but after looking in my bird book, I see they have different colourings. How exciting to have them in your garden. I get big birds of prey here, but am unable to say which ones they are, they attack the pigeons and eat them in the garden but I can never get near enough to see what they are, when they see me coming they take off with the bird in their beak and eat it in the vineyard next door!

Barbara Jane
hi Barbara

Thank you for your reply.

Yes, birds of Prey can be very illusive and not always the easiest to see in time so you can work out what the species is.
From my knowledge you are more likely to get a Sparrowhawk in your garden area than any other BoP. They like to prey on Garden birds as there main food source.
Remains of feathers on your lawn can be a give away to a bird being taken by a Sparrowhawk. They take seconds to catch a bird, and pluck a bird before they eat it on a perch they like to use.

The Sparrowhawk which we got in our garden is a male so he is all lot smaller than the female and has a red/orange glow down his throat and belly.
The female on the other hand is larger, much more dull coloured and has a grey/white markings down her chest area.
I will say that the female has that colouration to protect her while she is nesting. She would blend well into the background, as the male does as you can see from my photos.

Kestrals on the other hand (we have a lot of them around where I stay) tend to like to hunt their prey on the side of motorways (green belts) and like to alight on their favourite fence post each and very time they hunt. You will see one in their same patch each time. So you get to know they their habits.
We know of two close to where we stay, and see them while driving down the motorway.. When they hunt they hover on the spot and fly with no effort looking for small rodents in the grass verges. When they dive for their they are very fast indeed.

I would say out of all of the BoP's the Buzzard is far the easiest to hear and see in the sky, but is not a bird who will enter your garden territory. They make a lot of meowing noises and they are very vocal indeed. They are lazy hunters, and like to feed of dead carrion like rabbit kill of the road etc..

It just takes practice Barbara. Just keep on the look out in your area and you get to know your birds and where to find them or join a local group of birders to your area. Other bird lovers will give lots of advice too.

Last edited by ScopsOwl; 29th March 2009 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 9th April 2009, 07:19 AM   #6
emma bessant
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Hi!!
I wish the Sparrowhawks would look for their dinner elsewhere!!! Mine are not shy at all in fact i have to open the door and clap my hands before he will fly away! I know all birds are special but i will protect my little birds all i can!!
Emma xx
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Old 9th June 2009, 08:15 AM   #7
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I was woken early this morning by a commotion from about 6 blackbird's alarm calls all at once. One pair has a nest in the back hedge and I assumed the local siamese cat was removing the contents.

On peering between the curtains I saw a sparrowhawk on the lawn quietly plucking the feathers from a juvenile starling. The starling was still alive and occasionally made plaintive screeching noises which could only just be heard amongst the din from the blackbirds.

Once most of the feathers had been removed and the starling silenced with a few pecks to the neck, the sparrowhawk flew off with it, no doubt to feed babies of its own.

Nature is very harsh, but amazing to watch nevertheless.
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Old 9th June 2009, 08:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 70007 View Post
I was woken early this morning by a commotion from about 6 blackbird's alarm calls all at once. One pair has a nest in the back hedge and I assumed the local siamese cat was removing the contents.

On peering between the curtains I saw a sparrowhawk on the lawn quietly plucking the feathers from a juvenile starling. The starling was still alive and occasionally made plaintive screeching noises which could only just be heard amongst the din from the blackbirds.

Once most of the feathers had been removed and the starling silenced with a few pecks to the neck, the sparrowhawk flew off with it, no doubt to feed babies of its own.

Nature is very harsh, but amazing to watch nevertheless.
Hi John

Gosh that have been something to see, and a real jaw opener.

We had our Blackbirds chinking like mad this morning , and I could hear Magpies. So I wonder what the Magpies where up too.
Mind you Blackbirds hate Magpies anyway.
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Old 9th June 2009, 09:04 AM   #9
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Yes it was an awesome sight, so much so that I never thought to get my camera and photograph the sparrowhawk

Why do I miss all the best opportunities?

The blackbirds' reaction always intrigues me. They seem to know that cats and magpies are dangerous, but never make a fuss when I go out there even though I am 100 times their size and potentially capable of great destruction.

However, blue tits do issue warnings when I am in the garden, as well as when cats and magpies appear - but not for wood pigeons, which must be an imposing sight for a tit because of their sheer size.

It is all very fascinating.

John
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Old 9th June 2009, 05:38 PM   #10
ScopsOwl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 70007 View Post
Yes it was an awesome sight, so much so that I never thought to get my camera and photograph the sparrowhawk

Why do I miss all the best opportunities?

The blackbirds' reaction always intrigues me. They seem to know that cats and magpies are dangerous, but never make a fuss when I go out there even though I am 100 times their size and potentially capable of great destruction.

However, blue tits do issue warnings when I am in the garden, as well as when cats and magpies appear - but not for wood pigeons, which must be an imposing sight for a tit because of their sheer size.

It is all very fascinating.

John
Hi John

It is shame that you did not manage to get a picture of the sparrowhawk doing its deed. That is the always the way things are. When you have your camera nothing happens - then when something happens you do not have your camera.

I think with Blackbirds they seen to take a strong liking for people, and trust people unconditionally. No other bird gets a close as a Blackbird. I am falling over a female Blackie at the moment.

As you say on the other hand Blackbirds hate other birds that they feel threatened by. Even cats get scolded at that by a Blackie.

I notice when I go out to feed the birds al the little birds like the Tits/Dunnocks remain hidden in the bushes, and start to twitter really quickly although they are excited that I am putting food out for them. So funny to listen too.

It is a funny old world in the bird world. It is hard to fathon at times.
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