Bird of Prey

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MKG
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Bird of Prey

Post: #215361 MKG
Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:45 pm

Since I cleared a few trees to open up "Middle Earth" (that's the bit of the garden between the house and the top garden), we've been visited by a few birds which don't normally get in - in particular, magpies, which don't have the finer flying skills to weave their way between the trees which have now gone. But yesterday, I watched a bird come in fast and then do a (I kid you not) right-angled turn and come to rest on the fence. Sneaking across the living room ('cos they can see me through the patio doors), I got a good view. It was a sparrowhawk, but it was tiny - smaller than an adult kestrel. Obviously, the sparrowhawks have been breeding late this year.

This thing hasn't got a chance of surviving the winter unaided. Now, I'm not going to be a softy but once these things visit you, you tend to feel a tad responsible. Are there any bird of prey experts out there who can make a few suggestions? Is it possible to add a few bits around the garden that it can eat without increasing the predation rate on the more normal garden birds?

Oh, OK - I am being a softy.

Mike
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #215362 Mallimak
Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:26 pm

Hi Mike

Are you sure it is a Sparrowhawk?

I would expect a juvenile to be at least the same size as an adult by the time it fledges.

Could it be a Merlin which is around 10-13" in size rather than the 11-15" of a Sparrowhawk.

Can you give a description of the bird?

Cheers

Dave
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #215363 MKG
Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:36 pm

Hi Dave ...

Well, I must admit that my identification is probably based on expectation more than anything else - we tend to get buzzards, sparrowhawks and kestrels here. But it definitely had the round-pupilled eyes with yellow irises, it had the overall flight characteristics of a sparrowhawk (came in fast and low) and then the (I thought unmistakeable) stripey pyjama legs. On the other hand, I'd definitely put it at 10" maximum - more probably less.

Over to you :iconbiggrin:

Mike
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #215395 Mallimak
Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:21 pm

Hi Mike

From your description, love the stripey pyjamas, it would indicate a Sparrowhawk and from the size I would suggest it was a male. Did you notice if the pyjamas were red or grey? If they were a reddy colour this would confirm a male.

Not sure whether putting out any food specifically to attract the Sparrowhawk, i.e. chunks of raw meat, would work as the Sparrowhawk tends to go for a moving target which means, unfortunately that a few of your garden birds may end up as victims.

However the Sparrowhawk won't hunt exclusively in your garden so you shouldn't lose too many visitors. It won't be just the small birds at risk as they will quite happily take a Collared Dove.

Shame they don't take the odd wild bird hunting cat :roll:

Cheers

Dave
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #215413 MKG
Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:43 pm

Thanks for that Dave. Actually, we had another visit after I posted last and, if it's the same one, it's not as small as I thought. Yes, I realise that we'll lose some garden birds - we're used to that as there's always a sparrowhawk around somewhere. And yes, you're right - not only do they keep our population of collared doves on their toes, but they're not averse to taking full-blown wood pigeons. But there are plenty about.

I'll keep my eyes open over the next few days to see if a "small" one reappears.

Mike
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #215440 old tree man
Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:09 am

What a great oportunity to watch this beatiful bird, they are as fast as bullets following thier prey, :thumbright: :flower: lucky you :flower:
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #215450 Millymollymandy
Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:51 am

We get them here but don't worry Mike, they miss a lot of the time! Sometimes I feel sorry for the poor Sparrowhawk, not that I really want to watch it catch a garden bird in front of me. But this is just nature and all birds are entitled to eat.
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #215454 MKG
Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:20 pm

Oh, don't get the wrong end of the stick :iconbiggrin:

I like the sparrowhawks - we've had 'em for ages, complete with little piles of garden bird remnants dotted around the place often. The usual bird population survives very well. No, I wasn't particularly worried for the little tweeties - I was worried for the sparrowhawk itself.

Mike
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #225529 MKG
Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:21 pm

Ooooh Eeeeeh.

We've had another visitor - twice now. I got some photos of it and I'll try to put one up soon. It's a Peregrine Falcon - no doubt about this one - and it really shouldn't be here as we're a fair way away from its normal range. In fact, it's a bit of an indicator species and, if it's got this far, things must be looking up in the bird world.

Just thought you'd like to know ...

Mike
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #225536 oldjerry
Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:48 pm

We've had peregrines in the top quarry for some years.Even though they well looked out for some sod still managed to poison 2 of them this last season,we know who it was,and though plod did nothing they wont show up in this area again.
Much of the prob comes from the pigeon racing people,as they do take them freequently(best thing I saw was a peregrine taking a huge wood pigeon off the top of our scots pine copse and the thing still squawking as it was carried off at top speed.)
We do well for birds of prey up here,couple of pairs of Hen Harriers, and recently a bloody noisy tawny owl that toowits all night,and sometimes in broad daylight!! (every things weird up here)>

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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #225542 Mr and Mrs luvpie
Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:28 pm

wow id love to have them round here, although one of our boys had a very close encounter with a marsh harrier, it swooped through trees into it's nest, literally coming between me and our 9 yr old who was holding my hand, close enough for it to move his hair in the wind caused by it's wing movement.

i just think they are the most beautiful birds x
the ever growing luvpie household currently contains, 4 boys, 4 chickens, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, 4 fish, an empty tropical fish tank waiting new arrivals, now are we daft to look at our broody hen thinking, if we got some fertilised eggs........

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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #225584 Millymollymandy
Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:59 pm

There was a Peregrine at a RSPB site in Weymouth when we went for a walk there - luckily a bird watcher had it in the sights of his telescope on a tripod so we all had a look - it was perching in a bush.
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #226014 snapdragon
Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:43 pm

:mrgreen: we just had our second visit from a Sparrowhawk, first time (a few days ago) I wasn't sure who she was when she crashed into the Rosemary bush, but this time she landed on the bird table right by the window, hopped to the windowledge just feet away from me and my camera (camera good -- photographer rubbish!) and then into the hedge and landed with her dinner.
I'm hoping this means we have a healthy Sparrow/small bird population as we've been feeding them all winter.
Considering we live on a main A road and have a narrow garden- hedged and fenced- I was trilled :cheers: :cheers:
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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #226015 Millymollymandy
Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:52 pm

snapdragon wrote:I was trilled

You been eating budgie food again Snapdragon? :iconbiggrin: Watch out for that sparrowhawk then. :lol:
boboff wrote:Oh and just for MMM, :hugish: (thanks)


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Re: Bird of Prey

Post: #227252 willp
Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:35 am

We seem to have a good population around here - one of my best viewings was in the garden - it came over the roof , dived straight down the side of the house to about 3 ft and came tearing down the path towards me. It turned at the last moment to get past me before swooping up and over the fence.

Amazing flying skills - it was close enough to touch.

See them down the allotment fairly regularly too - they seem to get mobbed by the magpies whenever they make a kill though.

Will


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