It's always a thrill to see a bird of prey, especially if it's in your own back garden, but sometimes working out what it is can be tricky.
The RSPB's Wildlife Enquiries team probably receives more queries about sparrowhawks than any other species. They can be confused with several other birds of prey. Browse our photo gallery to find out what to look for.
Adult male sparrowhawks have orange breasts and slate-grey or bluish backs and wings. As they get older, their eyes turn from yellow to orange
Male merlins have a similar coloration. But in 99% of gardens, merlins can be ruled out. They are supremely adapted for hunting in open country - the enclosed spaces of gardens just aren't their style
Young sparrowhawks have brown wings and backs, with chestnut-brown edges to the feathers. Their breast feathers have brown streaks or chevrons
Unlike sparrowhawks, merlins and other falcons always have all-dark eyes
Kestrels sometimes come into gardens. If your bird is sitting still, look into its eyes. Kestrels' eyes are all-dark
Peregrines have dark eyes and visit gardens only rarely. They usually take large prey like pigeons, but sparrowhawks can do this, too!
Goshawks are far rarer than sparrowhawks and very shy. They mainly live in large forests and would be unlikely to visit a garden