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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Sparrowhawk visits our garden......

I was all set for a happy and productive day but a visiting Sparrowhawk has put paid to that. Working on my computer earlier it crashed, so while it was rebooting I wandered over to the window to look out on the garden. There was a Sparrowhawk furiously plucking the feathers from a small bird. I couldn't make out if it was a Sparrow or a Blue Tit or maybe some other small bird.

Frozen to the spot I was mesmerised by the Sparrowhawk's splendour but horrified at watching what, to me, was a scene of horror. After less than a minute, the large bird must have spotted me watching it and it flew off with its tiny prey.

Sadness overwhelmed me because I felt as if I'd let down the unfortunate small bird. I felt like I hadn't offered it enough protection. What could I have done to prevent its death? Maybe I should have sited all the bird feeders nearer the house..... or if I'd hung the washing out this morning instead of leaving it in the washer, the Sparrowhawk might not have spotted his prey!

I suppose hunting and death goes on all the time in the garden whether it's a blackbird with an earthworm or a blue-tit feeding on aphids. It's just that it doesn't seem so obvious as the Sparrowhawk in the middle of the lawn with a small bloodied feathered bundle.

Meanwhile I need to try not to dwell on what I think of as a sad event and instead imagine that the Sparrowhawk was flying off to feed a family similar to the one in the photograph (courtesy of RSPB).

How do you feel about this? Can you tell me anything to make me feel better?

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  1. I had to quit feeding the birds for a while. A hawk used my feeder for his person grocery store.

  2. Hi Hit40. :) He must have been a very well-fed hawk!

  3. It's unfortunate you had to see the act, but you are correct: this kind of thing happens all the time in nature, and is actually necessary. Both birds; the hunter and the hunted, were fulfilling their roles in keeping a proper balance.

  4. Absolutely Ian. The heart hurts for a while until logic takes over. I wouldn't want to deprive Mr & Mrs Sparrowhawk and their chicks of a life-sustaining meal. And you're right about the balance thing.

    I'll still feel as sad if and when I next witness it though! :)