Forum home Talkback

Talkback: Sparrows and sparrowhawks

I would be bowled over at the sight of a sparrowhawk in the garden!! Was honoured by visits from a kestrel in the past.Now am lucky to see birds at all due to the increase in domestic cats and am concerned that the bird feeders are luring them to an untimely end courtesy of these brutes. The little cloud of tiny feathers to a wild bird is nothing like when a fat, pampered cat is responsible.


  • I too am missing a pair of blue tits from our garden, Haven't noticed any predators but the sparrow population has multiplied considerably this summer. Have they been forced out like the woodpidgeons were by the crows? The poor things were pressured out of the tree they have nested in for the last two years. Birds mimic humans by ganging up on residents they don't want as neighbours.
  • We have been visited by sparrowhawks for the past two years and they are mainly going for the collared doves whose numbers dwindled due to the virus that affected finches and were this year slowly increasing in number. So far this week they have had three. The smaller birds I feed from feeders in either a hawthorn hedge or in holly trees which does seem to deter them, but they have been seen sitting on top of the hedge lurking with intent! I know cats can be a problem but they are not as brutish, and they do keep the mouse population down, and mice can do a lot of damage to your plants, and seedlings.
  • Over the last four years we have been participating in the R.S.P.B house sparrow project, providing mealworms throughout to summer and seed all year has helped the sparrow population greatly, with many into their fourth brood this summer. The knock-on effect of this is that we have also seen an increase in the number of sparrowhawks visiting the neighbourhood. The alarm call goes out and our little flock takes cover. However, the mourning period for sparrows seems to be about two minutes as the feeders are soon busy again. Taking into account the increase of both sparrowhawk and cat predation, our sparrows seem to be doing very well. They also munch through plenty of aphids and other garden pests, which is good news for the veggie plot.
  • We have been visited several times by sparrowhawks this year. The other day I heard a great squawking of blackbirds which were obviously very alarmed by something and when I looked through the window I saw several adults diving down from the fence into the garden. When I went outside, I found that a sparrowhawk had caught a young blackbird and the adults were mobbing it and trying to rescue the chick. The birds all flew off when I appeared and the young bird scuttled into a flowerbed for safety. It wasn't there the following day, so I hope it survived. I have found several sad little mounds of feathers in the past weeks but although I regret the loss of these little birds, it is still a thrill to see these handsome predators so close.
  • I agree that I would much much prefer that the newly hatched blackbird recently brutally killed in my garden had been murdered for food as part of survival, and not just for fun by the local moggie
  • Our sparrow population has vastly increased this summer but the local sparrow hawk seen only once at the beginning of the year seems to have moved on.
  • We were sitting out the other evening having a drink as the sun set and a sparrowhawk flew across the garden and caught a collard dove (one of a pair who had been canoodling on a branch and obviously wasn't paying attention) and landed on the lawn with it. As soon as it saw us it was gone - but what speed! The dove knew little about it I should think. We have woodpigeons nesting in trees in our garden too and there's nearly always feathers somewhere around. I guess they are in plentiful supply and make a good meal for a sparrowhawk - much more than a blue tit. Perhaps encourage some more pigeons to your garden? We also have foxes who catch baby herring gulls occasionally which helps to keep them in check too. It's just the circle of life isn't it?
  • In the leafy edge of sarf west London I often see sparra'hawks circling way up in the sky. And yes they swoop down on my little song birds. It was August a couple of years ago that a song bird was being eaten by the hawk and then we never saw a sparra till nearly Christmas that year. The warning must have gone out :O(
  • Thank you for all the information - now I know what must have had the collared dove in our garden a few weeks ago. I didn't see it, but was relying on a vague description from somebody without her glasses on at the time! As far as sparrows are concerned, I don't know where the idea has come from that their numbers are falling - they sure are thriving where I live. Also blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, greenfinches, blackbirds, song and mistle thrushes, warblers I haven't seen but have heard, wrens, dunnocks, and the odd tree sparrow and reed bunting visiting from the local RSPB reserve. The local cats, I'm pleased to say, don't make much impression...
  • My husband and I receive a lot of pleasure watching a variety of birds in our garden including the rarely seen ones. We have seen plenty of babies raised and bought by parents to the feeders. Alas we have also witnessed sparrowhawks taking Black birds in our garden but this is all part of nature and the natural cycle of life.
Sign In or Register to comment.