hi all.i read with interest the posts relating to sightings of sparrow hawks,buzzards etc during the big garden birdwatch.i have been bird watching for the past 5 years,and am particularly lucky to live near open fields and farmland,prior to actualy seeing a sparrow hawk in the garden,there were several occasions when there was evidence that one had payed a visit,ie feathers lying about.though this slightly upset me at the time,i was keen to actualy see one,so spent days hiding with camera at the ready,what i witnessed was really intresting,on several occasions a sparrow hawk[male] would fly in to make a kill,but nine times out of ten he would be unsucessfull,however there was one occasion when he did make a kill,yes it did upset me,but i am a firm believer that one should not interfere with nature,but i was amazed at how clever the sparrow hawk was in using his wings to prevent his prey from escaping.i am no expert in orthonology,but i am sure we who entice birds into our gardens by putting feeders out are in fact creating an ideal enviroment for predatory birds.i am not saying this is a bad thing,the reverse in fact,because i am sure some of us might never have seen such beautiful birds had it not been for the fact that we wanted to feed the smaller birds in the first place.yes nature can throw some surprisses at us,but it is the only way we can learn.i would be interested in other members views,particularly those in the know.thank you
I have had a Sparrow Hawk in my garden eating a pigeon here in Ipswich.
One made a kill in my garden yesterday here in Brentwood.
Saw my first kill on the way home from work (thursday) here in Alvaston, Derby. It was amazing to watch.
For the past 3 years we have had a pair nesting in a conifer hedge beyond our back garden but the best part is watching the young being 'talked' through the art of hunting. The parents definitely use several humanly detectable screech pitches for different manoeuvres, it's truly fascinating, albeit for a result that sadly further decimates our small bird population. I have lived in this area for the past 35 years and for at least the last two decades have seen in my garden not a single sparrow or starling; limited numbers of thrushes, blackbirds and bullfinches but a huge increase in the vermin....jackdaws, pigeons, magpies, crows and jays. I hope I don't get deluged with replies in defence of these birds because I see them throughout the winter muscle in at every opportunity, forcing out the little birds and they drive me nuts! So all I can say to those that feed the birds....keep up the good work.
Well here's the first sign of a deluge (though in my defence I did hold back for over half an hour). I don't really subscribe to the "critters and varmints" perspective on wildlife. Corvids are some of the most intelligent birds on the planet and if you study them you'll find that they can be real characters. Yes, they're opportunist predators of eggs and juvenile birds as well as scavengers of, more or less, anything edible. Jackdaws, Black billed Magpies and all the others are indigenous species that have evolved alongside the garden sparrows and tits for thousands of years.
They get the "vermin" tag because they do things some humans disapprove of. Are we to label Great spotted woodpeckers vermin because they are opportunist nest robbers too? And as for those Blackbirds bullying and chasing off the Song Thrushes all the time.. Well!
Whoa! Steady on JB not sloop! Appreciate your comments and all entitled to an opinion, you and me included. Must be honest though, don't give a fig how intelligent they may or may not be still don't want a garden full of just these creatures and I'd happily never see another one of them there critters 'n varmints. Anywhen, gotta dash, I'm off to 'keep up the good work' and scare some more of themun Corvids and Columbids(?) ;o}
Fine, we'll just agree to differ. "Critters" are the creatures "varmints" prey on or otherwise inconvenience though, so you might want to hang on to those.