Thursday, 10 February 2011

Back garden raptors: Sparrowhawks

Thought I would post up a couple of shots taken late last August-early September of Sparrowhawks over the back garden. They probably go over and hunt through the garden every day, but nothing beats hanging out in the late summer sun waiting for one to go over. Of course, at that time of year the House Martins are around and their alarm calls herald the appearance of each and every hawk. The first picture is of a nicely coloured adult male. The fresh flight feathers and disorganised breast barring of the second bird indicate it is a juvenile, and its larger size indicates that it is a female.


Anonymous said...

Hi Geoffrey, Kate McIntyre here, Don's daughter. Last week, late afternoon, we heard a significant commotion out in the garden and feathers were flying. We rushed upstairs to look out of the window and could see a sparrowhawk in full pursuit of a large and beautiful jay. A large number of crows had flocked to the scene and were dive bombing the hawk to try to scare it off. It went on for some time, very noisily, and after a few minutes, the jay flew off into the distance with the hawk following. I'd never seen anything quite like it - it was quite a sight.
We used to feed the birds in the garden - until the seed husks attracted rats! We saw some really beautiful ones - woodpeckers, nut hatches, a wide variety of finches and tits. We miss them.

Morg said...

Hi Kate, Even without the crows, I can only just imagine the noise a Jay would make if a Sparrowhawk was having a go at it! If you are keen on feeding the birds again, did you know that there is no-mess food (i.e. huskless and small pieces), or maybe a feeder that has a restricted flow rate. Alternatively a nest box for owls might sort out the rats! On the other hand, I can understand your desire not to encourage the rodents. All the best, Geoff