Sparrowhawk keeping birds away?


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Sparrowhawk keeping birds away?

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Hi RSPB community. I have quite an established feeding regime in my garden nowadays, and in particular daily visits by numerous goldfinch. Late summer and in to Autumn the local sparrowhawk has been making far more regular visits. I've been lucky to see it perform some awesome aerial manoeuvres, and it has taken the odd bird (goldfinches) but usually misses. As the presence of the sparrowhawk has increased, I've noticed that there are less birds present at the feeders throughout the day. I just wondered what other experiences people had - do you think the predator means birds are now avoiding my garden perhaps? I love seeing the sparrowhawk of course, but just a bit concerned that it might put an end to my feeding of other birds, which gives me so much joy! I've put guardians on some of the feeders and the table also, so smaller birds have some protection. Thanks!
Verified Answer
  • Hi Neil welcome to the community from Sheffield.

    The Sparrowhawk will keep the birds away while it's in your garden but won't put them off permenatly, the birds come back into my garden within about 10 minutes if a hawk visit even if there has been a kill.

    This one was sat for 90 minutes yeterday

All Replies
  • Hi Neil welcome to the community from Sheffield.

    The Sparrowhawk will keep the birds away while it's in your garden but won't put them off permenatly, the birds come back into my garden within about 10 minutes if a hawk visit even if there has been a kill.

    This one was sat for 90 minutes yeterday

  • Hi Alan, thanks for the welcome and for your reply. Your video is fantastic - a real treat to get such a view. Your reply has put me at ease. I also wonder if things have naturally quietened off now we are in to autumn, and will hopefully pick up again towards winter. I just didn't want the smaller birds to start skipping my garden altogether on their food circuits as it had become known as a sparrowhawk buffet! I'd never really seen a sparrowhawk prior to moving to my current house so I feel very privileged to get to watch this one. Thanks again.

  • It's quiet all over Neil I have some feeders out on my patch and it's quiet there, as you say there is a lot of natural food about at the minute.

    Most people that feed the birds in their gardens will get a visit from a hawk.

  • Any chance of some photo, welcome

  • Jeremy I do have a couple of photos of the sparrowhawk in the garden. I will try to upload them later if I remember (and can figure out how to do it!).  

  • Have a read here Neil on the best way to post photos.

  • Thanks Alan - this is just what I needed. I'd looked once before about uploading photos in to a thread here but gave up! This is great. Will dig a couple of photos out when I'm home.

  • Hi Neil welcome from me up in the very far north of Scotland, in Catihness. I have a sprawk that come a visiting also. Two weeks ago he had my blackbird, I saw it happening so after a bit of mad shouting and clapping of the hands he let the blackie go who shot throught the hedge followed by the sprawk and I really thought he was a gonner as there was a lot of feathers on the ground. Next morning when I shouted the pheasants and the Robin, who appeared, my poor blackbird, rather bald on one side at his backend, but he survived. Enjoy here, look forward to the photos.

  • Hi Neil and welcome also from me on Anglesey, I too get a Sprawk through fairly regularly, taking the small birds mostly as I get plenty of sparrows.   At the moment I have noticed it being pretty quiet, as others have said there will still be plenty of food around.   Wait until the weather gets cold and back they will all come to eat us out of house and home:-)

  • Thanks Catlady. Lucky escape for your blackbird! I've seen the hawk take two goldfinches successfully. Luckily for me it flew off after taking them to the ground for a few seconds, so i didn't have to witness them being chomped! There have been other kills as i've been out to put food up on the table and noticed the odd patch of plucked feathers a couple of times. I've seen the hawk fly into a bush after something before, and then chase it on foot through the bush - amazing to see, must be terrifying for whoever was being chased - possibly a blackbird or dunnock as it was where they usually hang out.

  • Thanks for the welcome gaynorsl. Yes im looking forward to the cold weather and hopefully having a busier garden again. My feeders were hammered by sparrows in Spring and early Summer, then they disappeared (i think they'd 'gone on their hols' to the countryside to take advantage of the natural food). But just saw one the other day for the first time in a while, so they are back and around - and i'm hearing them again nearby. Only a matter of time!

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    Photo of sparrowhawk
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    Hi Jeremy, I posted another photo in the thread. That one was very recently just after the sparrowhawk made a kill (there is a goldfinch in its claws hidden in the grass!). This photo here was actually taken at the start of the year and looks like a different individual. Not great photos at all but i was lucky to get them!
  • Hi Neil lovely shots as you say it looks like two different birds, but maybe they look different with them being taken at different times of the year regarding plumage.

    If you look back at that link I gave you and alter your settings you should be able to post them like this and you can post more than one at a time

  • Hi Alan, Thanks, i'll have another read of the link. Wow - that is an awesome photo. Stunning picture. Yes one of mine was taken in winter (if i remember rightly). It's actually sat on my neighbours fence. The other photo is of the bird who regularly tries for a meal from my garden since around August/Sept. Often he/she just swoops through the garden on a recce and is gone in a flash! I've set my camera up now ready for the more regular visits!