Rushing to the back door,
|The evidence left behind|
A bird has crashed into the window,
that is so,
but who stands proud on the fallen dove?
merciless killing machine
chased her hapless prey into a blind alley,
in the blink of an eye.
Victor and victim,
hunter and quarry,
part of the cycle of life.
Birds form almost the entire diet of the sparrowhawk; they take any bird from the smallest tit to a full grown grouse. Game birds, particularly smaller, immature birds, as well as lapwing, wood pigeons, collared doves - as in this case - and jay, are well within the female bird’s capabilities. The adult male is smaller, he seldom weighs more than150 gm (5 ounces). Even he will sometimes kill birds as large as himself. Sparrowhawks are classic opportunists; a bird table in the garden is an open invitation to them, which means that gardens have become their favourite killing fields.
|15 minutes later in a flowerbed.|
Conclusive evidence. The hawk took off with the
I hate this story and killing raptors is now prohibited. But when you see a sparrowhawk stooped over a fresh-plucked songbird, with wings cowling the victim like a vampire’s cape, I defy any one not to be distressed. I have song thrushes nesting in the hedge.This bird is becoming rarer every year. At 5.30 every morning, the male pours his loud, bell-like clarion wake-up call across the garden from the top of the tall conifer; should I not hear this sound one morning before the end of the natural season and the hawk have killed my thrushes, I’d wish for a shotgun myself. I know that sparrowhawks have every right to survive too but, please, leave my songbirds lone. Take a rook or jackdaw, maybe another collared dove or two, even a pigeon or gamebird. It’s the second time that I’ve seen the hawk linger by the bird table and I’ve seen him pick off a feeding sparrow and bluetit , which gave me an unhappy jolt both times. Perhaps I’d better move the feeding station or stop feeding altogether.
Hawks are not afraid of people, so standing guard won’t help.
Thank you very much, Hilary, much appreciated.