The Kill

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) female

I photographed this magnificent bird through the glass of my bedroom window when I spotted it feeding on what appeared to be the remains of a Starling (Sturnus vulgaris). They sure do not waste anything.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) female

The Sparrowhawk has bounced back in recent years after almost becoming extinct in some eastern counties of Britain. DDT in pesticides reduced their numbers by thinning their egg shells in the 1950s. It has now become one of the most abundant and widely distributed birds of prey. The male is smaller than the female. The male is a beautiful barred-orange below, with an orange face, and bluish-grey upperparts. The female is barred-grey below and has a pale line over the eyes.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) female

They hunt small birds along hedges, woodland verges, or into gardens and finding birds at feeding stations. The males take tits and finches, where the females take thrushes, pigeons, and starlings. They nest on a small platform of thin twigs on a flat branch, and lay 4 or 5 eggs in 1 brood from March to June. They can live for up to 10 years.

Seen all year round, and found in woodland, hedgerows and gardens. Common and widespread, except for parts of the Scottish Highlands, the Western Isles and Shetland.

Photographs of Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) taken November 2011, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.

2 thoughts on “The Kill

  1. Cool, cool, cool pictures! I always feel bad for the birds at my feeder that have gotten snatched by Hawks but it is kind of cool too. Thankfully I’ve only seen that happen twice. Our hawk that hangs out in the area does daily fly bys, I can say I have actually looked him in the eye! LOL. Now, how to get a picture…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 I too fell bad when I see nothing but feathers floating around my feeder, which thankfully is not very often. It is nature’s way, and the hawks need to survive and provide for their young. I don’t get to see the Sparrowhawk often, and this was the only time I have managed to photograph it. I do hope you get your hawk picture.

      Liked by 1 person

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