Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawks are amazingly fast predators .
They skim hedgerows and zigzag through trees like silver bullets and if you blink just once, they are gone, usually in a puff of victim's feathers.
I saw that explosion of white feathers this morning, just as I looked out on the old Churchyard whilst making pea soup.
Moments before the bachelors had walked the top of the Church wall in Indian file formation so it was with a heavy heart that I hurried outside to check


The female sparrowhawk dropped with one bachelor into my field.
He was dead when I got to him

69 comments:

  1. Oh NO! She didn't even justify the loss by eating him?

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    1. She didn't have time, I scared her off .

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    2. A sad loss but I'd have here let her have it.

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    3. I've left the body for her

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    4. Ahhhh! John no! You want killing the rooster to be a bad experience for her, wild animals will always take the easiest way of getting food. Letting it have the rooster will encourage it to hunt rooster. Put the body in the trash, don't give anything the thought that eating chicken is a good idea, once started you can't stop them.

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  2. They are so fast . . . this last Summer sitting in the Summer house a sparrowhawk swooped down the garden and took a coal tit straight off the feeding station, they had both gone in a second. Sitting indoors near the window there was a tremendous bang as a rook and a sparrow hawk banged into it, I looked out and the sparrowhawk was getting ready to pluck out the chest feathers of the rook. That was until another rook came up the garden and squawked at the scene, this gave time for the rook on the ground to fly off which it did, the sparrowhawk went under some garden furniture and got its breath back, I took this time to get some photos of it, it looked at me balefully and then sped off at fifty miles an hour. Nature is violent. Love Andie xxx

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    1. The bachelors are not the brightest cookies in the jar, so it was only a matter of time

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  3. Occasionally we get a sparrowhawk in our garden. All of the other birds stop singing and hide away. Sorry to hear that you lost one of your bachelors this morning.

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  4. Anonymous12:05 pm

    My heart skipped a beat and I felt your pain. X

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  5. We had snow last week. When I opened the blinds and looked out there was a Cooper's Hawk on the fence. As I watched the hawk plucked breakfast, it was windy and the feathers blew off in the wind like more snow. I think breakfast was a sparrow.

    It can't be a good feeling to see one of your animals killed like that. What will you do with the body?

    Helen

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    1. The circle of life...it's out on the field waiting for her return

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  6. We have a regular sparrowhawk visitor in our garden. They're so fast! They've had many collared doves and a few other smaller birds. I managed to rescue one of the doves last summer as it was dropped (all intact) and after a few hours in the greenhouse it recovered. It's said that very few baby sparrowhawks survive due to starvation as the mums/dads aren't very successful hunters. This is definitely not the case in our garden - I often walk out to the customary ring of feathers left over. Sorry to hear about your bachelor.

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    1. I've left his body in the field I hope she comes back to feed

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  7. Awww... I know it's the whole food chain thing, but it still seems pretty awful.

    I just googled sparrowhawk and they look like vicious things.

    Ugh.

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    1. It's rare to lose a cockerel to a sparrowhawk but they are bantams so are small birds

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  8. Sorry about the bachelor - now the other one is going to feel lonely - can't you find somebody with a cockerel they don;t want?

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    1. There are two brothers left weave

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  9. So sad. I didn't think a sparrowhawk would be big enough to take a chicken (I know they were bantams but even so) I thought it was red kites that were more of a worry. I too have bantams but have a roof on my chicken run. We have loads of red kites here in the South East of England. A sad day.

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    1. Red kites are generally scavengers they don’t routinely hunt live prey. Female sparrowhawks are bigger than the males and hunt pigeon-sized prey in the open. The boys (blackbird size) hunt small birds through woodlands.

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    2. I lost a chicken to a Red Kite when we lived on the farm in Oxfordshire, there were dozens of breeding pairs there.

      It swooped and made a large puncture wound in the back of it's neck and then flew off leaving the body behind. They are huge when seen close up.

      There are a few pairs here but I'm not as worried as the terrain is completely different, with much more protection for the chickens and less of a clear runway for the Kites. We do have Buzzards that sit watching through.

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    3. It was a female sparrowhawk I think carol, as it looked larger than the ones I've seen here. The bantam was large for her as they both kind of crash landed in the field.
      She must have been hungry

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  10. We have a larger variety of hawk and they are deadly to my chickens.

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  11. Sorry about that, you are wise to leave him in the field, I'm afraid that is nature's way. We have an occasional sparrowhawk, but we also have a weasel who patrols the boundary around the paddock and keeps the rabbit population in control. Many a time have I stumbled across a disembowelled rabbit.

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  12. This is what I hate about "Nature" .. I am sorry for your loss .. We have all kinds of hawks and big scary birds of prey in my area, there is a large nature preserve behind my home ... inviting to all creatures, on land and in the air.

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  13. Oh dear, the circle of life strikes again . . . .

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  14. too bad about the bachelor but why didn't she eat him? we had red shouldered hawks here and they snatch a white wing dove now and then. all I find are the feathers.

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  15. I would worry about my cats.
    I have a room off the back of my home that is all screened in .. even so I worry sometimes when I see "turkey buzzards" flying overhead .. and there is a hawk nesting in the forest, behind my home.
    This place is just full of nature.. I like to look at it but when it slithers under the door onto my lanai, I miss living in the city.

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  16. Sad. Not a great way to start the day. :(

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  17. I didn't expect such a ghastly ending when I started reading that. I'm sorry.

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  18. I'm sorry, and all lined up; such easy prey for her too!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Maria you can't blame her

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  19. It was most likely hungry after all this icy weather. Little creatures are holed up keeping warm.

    I'm sorry for the loss of one of the Bachelors, but I do hope the Sparrowhawk at least comes back to claim it's meal.

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  20. I didn't know they could take something that big.

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    1. He is a quarter the size of a normal hen

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  21. Nature. Red in tooth and claw. Poor cockerel.

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  22. Anonymous4:58 pm

    Although it’s part of the chain, we become attached to our animals. So sad. That would break my heart.
    Debbie

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  23. Sorry to hear of the loss of one of the bachelors, but glad you left the body out for the Sparrowhawk to take.

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  24. I'd keep Albert indoors!

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    1. He's far too big for asparrowhawk as are most hens

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    2. The Bachelors must be tiny!?

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  25. I had our budgie (in a cage) in our garden one summer, I bent over to pick up something and as I stood up a sparrowhawk collided with me. Seems he had his eye on our budgie! He managed to land on the cage, then flew away, luckily budgie was in the cage!

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  26. How sad. All the rabbits in my yard were devoured by a fox couple a few weeks ago. Cats devoured the voles(thank goodness) and NOTHING is eating the damn rat that keeps crawling into my house. Nature is a violent thing.

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  27. We have hawks. Sometimes the spend the day on the current, and some days they drop and bring back lunch.

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  28. I'm sorry. We have red tailed hawks that get the slowest birds at our feeder.

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  29. I knew I shouldn't have read this. I knew it! I'm sorry about your bachelor bantam, John. But I'm glad you left it in the field. Everybody's got to eat.

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  30. Cooper's Hawks migrate through my area a couple of times a year and wreak havoc because they're smart and fast. I keep a flock of pigeons that can go in and out of their coop. I usually lose 5-10 of them a year when the hawks come through. That's okay, pigeons reproduce quickly and the hawks educate the survivors and keep them wary. Last week, though, there was some sort of hawk came through that was huge. I wasn't worried about the pigeons, it was too big to catch them, but we have a new puppy. So when I let the puppy out I have to be with, carrying a broom.

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    1. We have large buzzards here but they never touch my hens... the sparrowhawk attack was a rarity and I think it must have been starving

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  31. I have just taken the liberty of sending you some pics of a hawk that we found in our backyard. Dead as a doornail - victim of avian heart attack?!

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    1. By the look of those gloves it was cold .. the hawk is very light too....perhaps starving

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    2. The gloves are actually just rubber disposable ones. I just wanted my husband to be protected. Believe it or not, the plague is alive and well in the Prairie. Handling dead animals without gloves is not recommended around here.

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  32. I'd be very concerned about the rest now the hawk knows where to get a feed and what easy targets they are all lined up there on the wall.

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    1. It's a rarity for a sparrowhawk to take a bantam ....I really feel it's an unlucky one off

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  33. We have wedge tailed eagles regularly flying overhead here. A long time back, either they or some kind of hawk tried to take my favourite chicken but failed. I unfavourited the chicken. Because it was life endangering to be my favourite chicken!

    We ended up covering a large area of the backyard with chicken wire as a result. Our girls do still have some area where they are not protected from overhead predators when I let them out to free range but since that one attack they are very wary of anything flying above and they will either make chicken statues, standing completely still and not moving for minutes at a time or take off like bats being shot out of hell to areas where they are protected, sometimes due to something they should be fearful of flying above, and sometimes due to an error on their part mistaking a harmless bird for an eagle or hawk.

    I'm sorry for the loss of your bachelor. :(

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    1. In Wales this is still a rarity..... we don't live in the Wild West x

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  34. A sad day for you. We get some hawks here and some years in January a migrating merlin will try for a chickadee or junco at the bird feeder.

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  35. O that's to bad John even though it's part of life it's hard to see especially when they pray on your roost.
    I took a photo of an Eagle today feasting on a swan not something I see often, I'm putting it on Comox Valley and Beyond tomorrow late in the day incase your interested (not a pretty sight though)

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  36. Oh no! I'm so sorry! It's Wild Kingdom out there, isn't it?

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  37. Oh, no. I couldn't handle it, which is why I live here and you live there.

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  38. Aw. Do you get the programme The Bachelor over there? I have a mental image of this tiny bachelor strutting up to Winnie with a rose in his beak. Nonsense.

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