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Unidentifed Raptor

I was pottering in the garden on Sunday, and thought I may have been visited by a fox, as there were A LOT of grey feathers from something like a pidgeon or collared dove, judging by feather size & colour.  There was no mess & no bones either, making me think maybe a fox (I was a bit surprised as we have a rescue GSD cross).  I'd forgotten earlier in the week there was something big swooping around & not a sparrow to be seen.

Anyway, I was near the patio window doing some tidying earlier today, and I saw something very big and very fast turning on a sixpence as though it was after a smaller bird that was trying to take evasive action.  I only got a glimpse of it, does anyone know what it might be?  I'm not really a country girl so don't know what it could be.  I know there are owls in the village, the ones that make a screaming noise, not the ones that go woo-hoo (like they always have in horror films).  Could it have been an owl in daylight.

I'd be very interested to know what it could be.  Was 2-3 times the size of the doves we get round here.


  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    Probably a female sparrowhawk - they will happily eat doves, in spite of the name.

  • Would a sparrowhawk frequent a village?  I thought they were an open-fields type of bird.  It was a cream & dark brown speckly thing.

  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    Yes, it would. It's the most common raptor seen in gardens, largely because they have realized that birdtables' visitors make a good lunch.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,126

    Yes a female sparrowhawk is  most likely.  This morning, between my other half going to work at 6.30am and me leaving home at 7.30am our front garden became strewn with woodpigeon feathers - the likely scenario is that a female sparrowhawk (seen around several times before) took one of the wood pigeons who  wait on our roof in the mornings for me to top the feeders up on the back garden - I usually spill a bit  for the pigeons.

    A female sparrowhawn is brown with a barred chest and is quite big enough to take  a woodpigeon - the male is smaller and slatey blue/grey and will take smaller garden birds to feed its family.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Brilliant if it is a sparrowhawk, I thought they were quite rare.  I haven't seen the cheeky male blackbird for a few days, I heard him telling me off on sunday because I was pottering under the rowan tree where he's nesting, but not seen him, hope he's OK, he always makes me laugh when I see him on the bird table.  I thought all of the alarm calls I was hearing were due to the local cats, maybe not.....

  • Hi - I think the  "cream and brown speckly thing"  is in fact a buzzard - much more common these days than they were 30 years ago - and is one of the bigger birds of prey.

  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    Buzzards are the UK's fastest growing bird of prey (as in numbers, not individual size) image

  • I'll dig my camera out & leave it near the patio doors, if I'm lucky and it comes back I might get a picture of it (although digital cameras are really poor for 'action' shots).  Must remember to keep my bird table topped up!

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