Tag Archives: Passer domesticus

Waiting and Watching

Okay we are waiting for the Sparrowhawk.

On Saturday morning I saw a Sparrowhawk make a kill in the back garden, I am pretty sure that it was a successful kill. I have seen this hawk here twice before and so far he has visited the garden got his dinner and then disappeared for a couple of months, he has not been a problem or made any impact on the bird population. I have come to look forward to his visits.

This is the bird on an earlier visit (previously unpublished photographs)

The pictures may seem cruel but predators exist in the world as part of the balance of nature and they have to eat. Predators kill and eat other animals. Starvation is the main cause of death for these birds.

A lot of people don’t have much sympathy for the Sparrowhawk because it is cruel. A small bird like this will die quickly as the hawk’s talons pierce it’s body but the hawk will eat larger prey alive. So do a lot of our birds, Blackbirds don’t strangle worms before they eat them but it is a lot easier to feel sorry for a bird than it is a worm. The hawk isn’t being cruel, this is just how it is.


SparrowhawkThis is a juvenile bird and I believe that it is most probably a male. The bird that  I saw on Saturday was a male in it’s adult plumage, possibly the same bird. An adult male is a beautiful and striking bird, It’s back and wings are steel blue and it has orange cheeks, that orange colour sometimes extends down it’s breast. I really wanted to photograph it.

The other thing is…

My bird feeders have remained almost untouched now for five days and I want to know if the hawk that I saw on Saturday has anything to do with that.

Seed Feeder

Peanut FeederAt this time of year it is normal for bird feeders to be quiet in the UK, there is an abundance of natural food about but the last time I filled these feeders they were emptied in three days and the change has been sudden.

I decided to watch for the hawk’s return. He can come and go in the space of a minute so to know if he is staying here I have to watch constantly, if I take a half hour break I will learn nothing.

He ate on Saturday morning and so I decided to watch from Saturday afternoon until the same time on Sunday. Twenty four hours in a hawks life.

It was a no show. when he didn’t show up again on Saturday I felt certain that he would be hungry in the morning but… no Sparrowhawk, so we don’t have a problem. That’s a pity…or is it.

Instead of a post about a beautiful bird here is a post about me getting annoyed and getting a bad back.

Play with me.

FizzI can’t. I’m busy.

You don’t look very busy.

This is the garden layout. Take note of the Honeysuckle bush beside the feeder, that is a problem.

Back GardenI think that the open aspect of the garden has saved us from having any real problems with Sparrowhawks. They are a woodland bird and they like tight spaces where the prey bird will find it’s exit blocked. They also like small town gardens with high fences and lots  of shrubbery for the same reason. They are also an ambush predator.

Whine, whine whine.

The first time that I saw the hawk it hid in the bush beside the feeder and it sat there for about twenty minutes before giving up. Every bird in the garden saw it go in and knew it was there. It didn’t get a kill on that visit but next time it changed it’s tactics.

Excuse me there is something outside of my back door.


FizzI don’t know what that is and I am not opening the door to find out.

The next time that the hawk visited it flew openly into the garden, all of the little birds dashed into the honeysuckle bush and the bird perched on top of the feeder.

SparrowhawkThe honeysuckle isn’t offering the birds any protection at all.

SparrowsIf an old fellow with misty bifocals can see them from his kitchen then the hawk can see them from half a mile away. It plucked a Sparrow from the bush as easily as you or I would take an apple from a tree (a small tree that we could reach).

The second kill that I saw followed exactly the same pattern. It is so easy for this Hawk that I do not really understand why it has not taken up residence here but it hasn’t.

Don’t scratch my door! Excuse me, I have got to deal with this.


FizzCan I come in?


FizzSometimes when I am sitting motionless and staring out of a window I am actually being very busy.

Can’t you do nothing and throw a ball at the same time, or is that what men call multitasking?

Luckily for her I have a soft spot for little animals. 🙂

FizzThis is gonna be so good.




FizzSo that is that. No photographs of a beautiful bird of prey, just happy Sparrows…

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

House Sparrowand a stupidly happy dog.





What a waste of a Sunday…… or was it?

Fit birds in the shower

Sorry about that, this is a nature blog. I was just trying to boost my stats. I won’t do it again 🙂 🙂 🙂

We have had a thunderstorm rumbling on since half past four this morning, it’s about one o’clock now. What can you do?

I have just had a Robin in  going through my cupboards and telling me that I forgot to put any worms out this morning.

I did put worms out, I don’t know where they have gone.

Raising Sparrows

It has not all been “Doom and Gloom” today. There has been a lot of this sort of thing going on……

We haven’t actually had juvenile House Sparrows yet have we?

Juvenile House Sparrow Juvenile House Sparrow Juvenile House Sparrow Juvenile House Sparrow Juvenile House Sparrow Juvenile House Sparrow Juvenile House Sparrow Juvenile House SparrowSongbirds face a lot of perils in their lives but they just get on with it and they continue to thrive.

House Sparrows, (Weathering the storm)

Just a short post. I have been watching the House Sparrows today. The bad weather doesn’t seem to bother them. They have (what would seem to be) several distinct advantages over the Blue Tits when it comes to survival.

House SparrowThe Blue Tit just has one brood a year, very rarely two and they have it now. The House Sparrow has a much smaller brood (Between two and five) so less mouths to feed and the House Sparrow will have two or three broods a year, sometimes even four. So they are not at the mercy of May.

Now that seems a much more sensible way to go about raising a family and it makes me wonder if Blue Tits are the origin of that phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

House SparrowThe House Sparrow has another big advantage over the Blue Tit, they are supposed to feed their young on insects but they can feed them seed if the weather is bad.

I don’t think the chicks here are getting any option, it is porridge, porridge and more porridge.

I filled this seed feeder up just before seven this morning and by mid day it was empty.

House SparrowThen they ate the sunflower hearts and then they started on the peanuts.

House Sparrow numbers were in serious decline up until a couple of years ago and I hear that they have vanished from some cities but they are recovering now.

I predict a lot of fat little sparrows for this summer.

4Luckily for them I am in charge of the feeders and I don’t have to pay for the food. Well not the nuts and seed, I pay for the worms and sunflowers.

This is a farm, we have a farm shop and it sells bird food. There are bins of nuts and seed and the farmer told me to help myself. You don’t have to tell me things like that twice. They are his feeders that I am filling up and he likes having the birds around.

House Sparrow

House SparrowNone of this makes life any easier for my little Blue Tits but it is nice to know that at least one bird is doing okay.

House SparrowSo the Tits are all in trouble. I am not sure about the Goldfinches. There is an abundance of Dandelion in the fields just now and that is a natural food for them and they can feed their chicks regurgitated seed. The Robin is just a pest, they come knocking on my door if I don’t put out food quick enough and I had one in my kitchen last week wanting to know where I kept the meal worms. The Swallows and Martins must be having it hard. They are constantly on the wing and seem to have bags of energy but there can’t be many insects flying in the rain.

I just hope that May starts being May soon.