What did I see?


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What did I see?

  • I think i saw a female blackbird kill and fly off with an adult sparrow predated from a nest. I would be more comfortable with a better explanation of what I saw. I live on the edge of a town in Dorset and we do see the odd rarity. I have had waxwings mealy redpol, wheatear, bullfinch, greenfinch and a fieldfare in my garden at various times. I regularly see sparrowhawks and kestrel which are familiar and the bird that took the sparrow was definitely neither of these.
  • Hi,

    Where was the nest located? It's more often the case that house sparrows nest in relative safety (apart from human interaction) in holes under the eaves, in nest boxes etc.


  • Hi Robbo, several sparrows are nesting in dense evergreen shrubbery at the bottom of the garden. I have not seen the nests but have seen a lot of traffic in and out with nesting material and lately mealworms. I have about 3-4 pairs of them there. During the winter I get many more using it as a roost.

  • I've never seen house sparrows nesting in shrubbery. I've had several under the eaves over the years. I can't hlep with any suggestion of what took an adult house sparrow as the obvious suggestions have been ruled out. I can rule out blackbird though. It isn't equipped to carry off birds.

  • Thanks Robbo, my neighbour and i have been trawling the bird books only one candidate remains. I'm so excited i may need to reach for the tena lady. female merlin...... OMG

  • Sorry but it won't be a merlin. Both Dorset and hunting amongst shrubs in a garden would rule that out imo.

  • Could it have been one of last years male Sparrowhawk?

  • Size difference between a Blackbird and Male Sparrowhawk

  • Hmmm........ there's a chap in West Wales who has a merlin preying on his garden birds. It attacks them from below. But I'm not so sure about seeing one in Dorset.

  • Sparrowhawks (and kestrels) are frequently mistaken for merlins as people often don't realise how small males of both species are.

    I have yet to see any evidence or photos of merlins hunting in gardens, so would be good to see one.

    got to admit that I don't know what a typical north wales garden looks like. It would need to be a very untypical garden to be a merlin though.

  • Put into context, I have done a quick search of the net and found a mislabelled video from a Sheffield garden of a Sparrowhawk which the poster hasn't corrected, and all of the 'garden merlin' have been misidentified during my quick search

  • I think he knows his merlins!

  • Can he provide a photo please?

  • I've no idea!

  • I would be happy to be proved wrong. It would certainly help both with this thread, and with Internet searches if someone can provid accurate evidence of merlins inhabiting gardens.