Make a home for wildlife
Image: Graham Catley
A sparrowhawk in the garden can be an exciting occurrence. To see one of these beautiful birds so close and witness its hunting prowess is a treat, but to see one taking one of the small birds you have attracted into your garden can understandably invoke mixed emotions.
Many people enjoy being able to add the sparrowhawk to their list of garden visitors, but others are not so sure. Try to take the view that having a sparrowhawk visiting your garden is a good thing - the presence of such a top predator indicates that the bird population in your area is doing well.
Even though sparrowhawks feed almost exclusively on small birds, they do not affect their overall numbers. Songbirds produce far more young every year than would be needed to maintain the population.
All these extra birds will die of starvation, disease or predation before the following breeding season and there would not be enough territories or food for so many. Sparrowhawks simply prey on those birds that would have died anyway.
If you feel you must deter the sparrowhawk, there are a few deterrents available, although their effectiveness is dependent on the availability of alternative feeding sites for the hawk. Rather than deter them, try to learn to admire the skill and beauty of this very specialised hunter.