Saturday, 22 January 2011
The Scourge of the small birds.....
....comes to a sticky end.
As the farmer waited at the farm gate this morning for a lift to his shooting expedition, he happened to notice something interesting under the Scots pines, and went to investigate. It was a dead sparrow hawk.
We have a selection of bird feeders and they are all located close to a rhododendron bush and a selection of small fir trees. This is intentional as it gives the small birds plenty of cover. We get a good selection at the table - all the finches, all the tits, house, hedge and tree sparrows, spotted woodpeckers, robins, blackbirds and now and again more of a rarity. One thing they all have in common is that they watch out for each other; watch out for that scourge of the small bird population - the sparrow hawk.
When he comes through, he comes at a fair rate of knots. Last week a friend surprised him in the pasture finishing off the remains of a mallard duck he had caught. All that is left is the duck's bone structure, it has been picked clean.
All birds have to live and the sparrow hawk survives at the expense of the small birds that are not quick enough to escape.
So how come he died? My guess is that he was going through so quickly that he hit a tree. The trees are quite close together. I can think of no other explanation.
He has been there several days so is not in perfect condition by any means, but I thought readers would be interested in seeing what he looked like. I took a close up and a longer shot - not sure there is that much difference.
##I call the sparrow hawk 'he' - for all I know it could be a 'she' - no doubt if my bird-watching friends read this they will let me know. (Yes, G and J, I mean you).