This healthy, (ringed) female Sparrowhawk, flying in yesterday, at first scared all the other birds away. After a couple of minutes, a Magpie landed in the same tree and started to approach. They eyeballed each other but it wasn’t until a second Magpie arrived that the first dared to get really close and scare the Sparrowhawk off. Meanwhile, the little birds quickly pick up, from body language, whether the Hawk is in hunting mode– after 3 or 4 minutes, six Blue Tits had reappeared in the tree and happily fed a few feet from her. Conditions: Cold and bright. Temperature: Max 5- Min 3C.
Female (note the ring) Sparrowhawk
Magpie scares off Sparrowhawk
Male Sparrowhawk– Yesterday the grey-backed, smaller male Sparrowhawk (the female and juveniles are brown-backed) was heralded in the garden by loud alarm calls from other birds. Sweeping through the garden, too fast to photograph, here it is recently, looking dapper, and an older photo by Lynn, where it is eating a Collared Dove. No one is certain why many raptors exhibit ‘reverse dimorphism’ (meaning the males are smaller than the females) but it it is thought to relate to their need to be very manouevrable in dense woodland, hunting for the incubating female
Sparrowhawk- male eating Collared Dove
, and/or the female’s need to have enough bulk to produce eggs. Conditions: Cloud and sunny intervals and showers Temperature: Max 20- Min 12C.
Look what briefly landed on our hedge today- a gorgeous Sparrowhawk. Probably a
Female Sparrowhawk- showing its golden eye
Sparrowhawk wobbling on the hedge
female (although male juveniles are also this sort of colouring), it swooped down onto the privet hedge, wobbled around trying to balance (as you can see),then flew off again. Females weigh more and are 25% bigger than males, and have browner backs. It is thought that the males are smaller in order to be more agile and manoeuvrable- they need to hunt more during breeding to supply the female on the nest. Sparrowhawks are doing well in the UK, and are one of the birds on the ‘Green List’, meaning their numbers are stable. Conditions: Mild and dry with a strong breeze. Temperature: Max 13- Min 6c.