Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Feeding the sparrowhawk

Yesterday morning we saw a sparrowhawk on the lawn eating a small feathery bundle - couldn't identify it. I suppose it's a downside of feeding garden birds - it attracts sparrowhawks. Cats too, but I've yet to see one catch a bird round here - too fat maybe.

A month or two back we saw a sparrowhawk on the fence with a scrap of something grey and furry which may have been a squirrel. To our surprise, a dove was tootling along the top of our privet hedge, paying no attention to the sparrowhawk. Maybe it knew it was safe while the sparrowhawk was feeding.

A few days after that sighting, there was a mess of dove feathers strewn across the top of the privet hedge, plus a bit of the carcass.

I like to think the dove's name was Clegg, although I'm not sure if they give each other names. Probably not.


Sam Vega said...

We have celebrity (at least C-list) peregrines who live in the local cathedral spire. They are often to be seen circling the cathedral, or bringing back food for their noisy fledglings. Sometimes the whole family go shrieking around over the cathedral close. Strange, but the hundreds of pigeons around pay them no attention at all. Sometimes bits of feather and shredded pigeon are raining down from the spire, and the rest of the pigeons just get on with their walking and preening and that fat neck stuff that the males do in front of females.

Once my son and I came out of the house to see a peregrine on the pavement, pinning down a fat woodpigeon. We tried not to make a noise, but it lost its nerve and flew off, at which the pigeon scrambled to its feet and flapped off in the other direction. It left a spot of blood about an inch across on the path. Didn't even say thank you.

A K Haart said...

Sam - yes, Derby cathedral also has peregrines and the pigeons don't clear off as you might expect. I suppose the benefits for the many outweigh the occasional loss of a family member.

Sparrowhawks just seem to stand on their prey and tear lumps out of it which is presumably what your peregrine was doing to the pigeon. Brutal!

James Higham said...

plus a bit of the carcass

A "bit" of a carcass, eh?

A K Haart said...

James - merely a few bones.