Sparrowhawk – Friend or Foe???

I love feeding the birds in our garden. My partner laughs every time I come back from the garden centre clutching yet another bird feeder. At the moment we have five feeders – that’s not excessive! is it? I used to feed them black sunflower seeds, but once I got fed up of cleaning up all the husks I swapped to sunflower hearts, peanuts and fat-feeders. The ground feeding birds also get apples, porridge oats and on occasions old dried fruit. At certain times of the year they go through a large sack of the sunflower hearts every few weeks, but god is it worth it!

In spring/summer we get spotted flycatchers, nuthatches, treecreepers, bullfinches, greenfinches, long-tailed tits, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, blackbirds, song-thrushes, wrens, dunnocks, firecrests, green woodpeckers and robins and in the autumn/winter they are joined by the occasional siskin, blackcap, goldfinch and brambling. Then there are the bullies such as the jackdaws, magpies and jays and the downright greedy woodpigeons (can’t say I love them too much!).

The one group I haven’t mentioned yet are the birds of prey. We had a buzzard balancing on the top of the telegraph pole the other morning, and I’m sure they have been down into the garden to pick off the odd pigeon (I hope), and we also get regular visits from a female sparrowhawk. When I say we, I mean the greenfinches get visited! She swoops down from her hiding place in the beach trees and chases them in and out of the camellia bushes before high-tailing it up the drive two feet off the ground. I can’t dislike her, I know she’s eating my birds, but she’s just too gorgeous… She’s been down a couple of times in the past week and I managed to get a short bit of footage of her below. This will be my first video premier…. it’s a bit blurry (which it isn’t in real life) so I will have to sort out the settings for the internet upload for future clips.

Female Sparrowhawk Film Clip – Click Arrow to View

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6 thoughts on “Sparrowhawk – Friend or Foe???

  1. I love raptors, all of them! On the farm we have numerous sparrow hawks and buzzards, also a resident kestrel. In the summer we often spot a hobby high, high up looking for swallows and in the winter a peregrine uses the farm as a hunting ground. I don’t know, but there’s something rather special about them, don’t you think?

  2. Yes, I love them but I’m rubbish at their identification, especially in flight. We’re in the Florida Keys at the moment and there are hawks flying around everywhere (as they’re migrating down the coast). I’m going to an organised “Hawk Watch” at the weekend to try and find out what they all are! We see ospreys all the time here (sitting on the side of the bridges and fishing in the shallows) and I spotted a bald eagle on a nearby island the other day (they are truly magnificent birds), but that’s about as far as my identification skills go. I must get out the bird book and reread it!

  3. I love your video. We had a sparrowhawk visit one place we lived. She came back many times. She’d sit on the fence close to our kitchen window, under trees. We watched her pluck and eat a greenfinch she’d caught. She stayed for over two hours that time.

  4. Dragonstar. Thanks for your comments. I wish the video were better, but they don’t stay for long, and it’s a mad dash to get the camera, turn it on and stop wobbling about while taking the film… not always very successful. I’ve never actually seen them catch anything, although I’ve watched them chasing the greenfinches. How lucky to have it in the garden for 2 HOURS. Amazing.

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