Richard Smart - Nature Photography


 

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This page features at least seven different sparrowhawks all visiting the garden at some time.

Recently I have been suspecting that we have more than one sparrowhawk visiting the garden. The choice of slightly different perches and flight paths encouraged this conclusion and finally we have absolute proof that two males visit on a very regular basis. One is completely plain on the back whilst the other is significantly spotted. Also one is much sleeker than the other and looks more menacing.

Some days I will witness half a dozen visits, more often than not perching in the bird feeder apple tree. This is the clue of course; we have many Goldfinches, Siskins and Lesser Redpolls which come to eat the Nyger seeds and drink/wash in the pond. Good food for a hungry hawk.
Recently I was leaning on the garden fence telling my neighbour this sparrowhawk story one (14th April 2014) when there was a flurry in the hawthorn tree and a sparrowhawk with a bluetit in its talons dropped onto the path close beside us. Talk of the devil we both said and it made off with its meal.

  
Meet Spotty and Spiv

I should think this steel sparrow in my back garden is a bit tough for a lady sparrowhawk.  This lady is from 2012, I have not seen her recently but wow does she have a pair of eyes.

  

   

Such is their tenacity when chasing prey that Sparrowhawks often fly into windows.  This one hit our conservatory and was knocked out cold.
After a night in a warm dark box in the spare bedroom she was as right as rain and flew off without problem.
  
There was another instance when I wondered why she was so tolerant of me.  I managed to creep up within about 15ft of her.  It became apparent later that she was absolutely stuffed full of Collared Dove,  I found the few remains in the back garden.

This is a really common view now of a bird that in the 1950s was down to small numbers.  I see many more sparrowhawks than I do Kestrels.