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.

    Rob

  • 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.