Friday, 30 December 2011

Sparrowhawk!


I was reading Joshua’s post at ‘Vive le Nerd’ wherein he commented on the Rough-legged Hawk he had seen in his garden. It reminded me that I had seen a Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) just before Christmas.

From the corner of my eye I saw a bird fly into the holly tree and watched to see if I could identify it when it emerged. I was excited to see it was a Sparrowhawk. Pleasingly it flew to the top of the nearest arch and posed obligingly for me. I had to photograph it through the (grubby) patio door and managed to get five shots before it took flight.
I rarely see Sparrowhawks. I hear them more often or find the pitiful evidence of their depredations in the garden. It’s not their fault that their diet consists almost exclusively of birds. 

Mainly they eat small birds – 120 different species have been recorded. The smaller males catch birds from titmice up to birds the size of thrushes but the much larger females will prey on birds as large as wood pigeons and magpies. Some have been known to catch bats.

Very rarely they eat insects.
This time the Sparrowhawk went hungry. I’m almost sure it was a male.

17 comments:

  1. Cool looking hawk, and neat sighting. I feel sorry for the little birds, I hope they run and hide. Great captures, I hope you have a happy and healthy New Year!

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  2. My goodness, that sparrowhawk is a big bird. You were very fortunate to be able to take pictures!

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  3. Always thrilling to see a larger bird up close, isn't it!

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  4. Thank you, folks! I never lose my enthusiasm at seeing birds, even the ubiquitous starlings and magpies, but some are special - jays and jackdaws, sparrowhawks and green woodpeckers.

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  5. why sparrow hawks? The eat sparrows? The birds here eat my plums.

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  6. @Ann - yes, they eat sparrows. A couple of hundred years ago all small birds were referred to as 'sparrows'.

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  7. I've been lucky enough to see a few hawks but didn't know what kind they were. Our cat came home today dragging a quail in his mouth. He was very proud of himself.

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  8. You even caught him in flight. Good for you. I'm so far behind in my comments, but I've been spending hours on the computer! (Trying to learn new programs.)

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  9. lovely blog.




    Hello,

    Hope all is well,
    Glad to land on your island that showcase fabulous poetry talent, way to go!!!

    Welcome join us by submitting a free verse or a poem of your choice today,

    Cheers.

    Happy New Year!
    Bless You.

    xoxox

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  10. It's thrilling to see birds like that, and I just love the name 'rough'legged hawk' :o)
    Have a wonderful new year Jabblog x

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  11. Fascinating. I often see sparrowhawks flying or, more frequently, hovering, but rarely on the ground. Thanks.

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  12. Thank you all:-)
    @Belle - quail, eh? A cat with taste:-)

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  13. One plucked a bird off our bird feeder a few years ago. We have had lots of hawk sightings on highway wires and poles lately.

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  14. @Linda - it's hard to know how to respond to such a sight but inevitably one comes back to realising 'it's Nature, red in tooth and claw'.

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  15. I wonder if they eat pigeons. That would be helpful in Hawaii.

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  16. Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

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  17. @Kay - they do, indeed they do:-)
    @Joshua - not nearly as good as your photos - but then you were out of doors (huffing and puffing and making excuses . . . ;-))

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