Country Corner

Sparrow hawk
Sparrow hawk

Helen Kirkness of Roslin has send in another photograph and I have to say, it is a real beauty!

Helen writes: “I got a nice photo of a sparrowhawk during the snowy period in March - it spent an hour on our apple tree, by the bird feeders. Don’t know if it was resting or hoping for a passing bird as a snack - but it wasn’t in a very good position for a clean ‘dive’ at small bird.

“However, all the wee birds were perched high up in a tall tree keeping a beady eye on things. After about 45 minutes, several blue tits did feel brave enough to fly in for a rapid raid on the feeders and although the sparrowhawk watched them closely, it made no move and eventually flew away.”

My guess is the bird was digesting an earlier meal, and as dozy as many of us are after a good feed!

Prey species are very good at reading the body language of predators and know very well whether a sparrowhawk is in hunting mode or not. The photograph shows Helen’s visitor to be a male, smaller and more colourful than the females. Male sparrowhawks generally take smaller prey than females do.

There is often a bit of animosity towards sparrowhawks due to their killing of small birds at the feeders. Of course, predation is all part of nature.