Friday, 5 October 2018

Back garden sparrowhawk kill

A bit of drama in the garden this week, a sparrowhawk eating a freshly killed woodpigeon. It looks like an adult female sparrowhawk to me, I can't see any hint of brown in its plumage to make it a juvenile. Also it looked pretty big and I'm not sure that a male is big enough or powerful enough to take down a woodpigeon.

Sparrowhawk kills can be a bit gruesome, whilst they will take and eat quite large prey such as woodpigeons and lapwings, they are often not powerful enough to kill them outright like a peregrine would, and it's not unusual to see a sparrowhawk eating prey which is still alive. Don't be too quick to judge them though, they have to eat and this what they have evolved to do. If we're worried about song bird populations being effected by sparrowhawks, then lets first remove cats from the environment and then stop destroying song bird habitat. Talking of cats, Polly and Ted just sat and watched while this was going on and didn't try to approach. Very wise!

Then two days later this juvenile male sparrowhawk was hunting tits and other small birds in the garden.  You can see how much smaller it looks than the female, in fact it almost looks like a different species. For example look at how small the bill of the male is compared to that of the female. Notice also the long trousers of the female which are lacking on the young male, and look at how brown the juvenile is compared to the dark grey adult.

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