I spend alot of time checking out what’s going on in my garden. I feed the birds (of course!) and so it’s not unusual to have a visit from one of the resident sparrowhawks. More often than not it’s the male zipping past as I’m working but just occasionally I get lucky .
The male bird has twice landed in the garden after an unsuccessful hunt attempt while I have been standing there. If I don’t move fast to bring attention to myself I’ll just be ignored and can get some stunning views. Back in November this visitor allowed me to stand around 10 feet away and I watched while he scanned the ground for small birds and fended off the annoyances of the local magpies.
After being in the garden with him for around 10 minutes I made a move to try and get the camera. Obviously I was successful but only managed about 10 shots before he decided he’d waste no more time in this spot.
Over the winter I have spotted the female a couple of times but she never stayed long enough to be able to get a photo or two. Finally this weekend that changed. When I’m home I have a habit of checking garden activity very often and when the sparrowhawk is around it’s normally quite obvious because nothing else will be! I looked out of the window on yet another gloomy, windy and rainy day and saw a large patch of white underneath the hedge on the left. I couldn’t quite work out what bird had managed to have created such a mess (I assumed I was looking at droppings) until i realised they were wet feathers stuck on the ground. Then a slight movement caught my eye and there at the edge of the feathered patch was the huntress herself sat atop the remains of a feral pigeon. She had clearly been feeding for some time as the pigeon carcass looked like some macabre kite. The first image is taken through dirty glass with a 1.4 converter on. The image needed a bit of work but shows the beautiful bird well.
I then managed to slowly open the window and get a few better shots. Given the poor light I was pretty pleased with how they turned out
Many people are upset about Sparrowhawks hunting their garden. I understand why but this is nature in the raw and if you are going to create a hotspot for bird activity then my advice is to accept the inevitable, sit back, enjoy the beauty of these stunning birds and marvel at their hunting skills.