ab9967's picture

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Observed: 17th January 2013 By: ab9967
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
ab9967’s reputation in Birdsab9967’s reputation in Birds
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Sparrow Hawk?
Description:

A little larger than a pigeon, holding it's prey in it's talons and enjoying breakfast on my garden fence. Dark grey back, golden brown/cream chest, organge legs and feet.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) interacts

Comments

ab9967's picture

Sparrowhawk

Does this mean I should stop feeding the wild birds in my garden? Now seems like I am setting them up as breakfast for my new visitor?

ophrys's picture

Breakfast

Far from it. If he doesn't eat them there, he will eat them elsewhere, and he will not kill purely for the fun of it. If you have the odd predator, you have a healthy population of birds and all is good. Just enjoy seeing a super bird.

Incidentally, male Sparrowhawks are quite small and actually quite a bit smaller than a Wood Pigeon (which are hefty birds).

Ian
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ab9967's picture

Sparrowhawk

Thanks Ian, that has put my mind at rest. I feel like I must be doing something right in terms of attracting wildlife to my garden in an urban area. What a fabulous surprise it was to find him on my garden fence.

I agree he was not as large as the Wood Pigeons that visit my garden, it amazes me how they manage to get off the ground!

I am glad I asked the question, your comments are appreciated.

Alison

Ray Turner's picture

Healthy Ecosystems

As Ian points out predators are a vital part of a healthy ecosystem.

In a lake without predator fish (Pike or Perch normally) the fish population will be large in number but they will tend to be very small, even stunted. It is the predators that keep the numbers at a sustainable level allowing good growth.

The analogy is not quite equivalent but it does illustrate the point.

Ray

Ray

ab9967's picture

Healthy Ecosystems

Thanks for your comments - yes, this makes sense. I will continue feeding the birds as usual and maybe I will see him again.

Alison

browntrumpet's picture

Predator/prey

That's not necessarily true.
When Sparrowhawk population crased, song bird numbers didn't show any noticable increase.
For anyone interested, there are now Sprawk proof bird feeders.