Monday, August 27, 2007

Hawks and doves

I was in Manchester for the long weekend. Eccles may not be the most salubrious of places, but I like it. It is famous for its cakes, though not for its wildlife (unless you count the squat dogs with muzzles paraded by the shaven headed).

However, our back yard is now a haven for townie birds since a monster bird feeder was installed. This afternoon they scattered more quickly than they usually do when someone walks by and the magpies sounded a raucous alarm. The pigeons that feed on the bits the sparrows discard really took off and one crashed into the window before flying off unharmed. Then we heard some flapping under the window, looked out and saw the reason for the mass panic. A female sparrowhawk had taken a pigeon and was eating its prey. This photo was taken very quietly through the kitchen window.


Larkers said...

Here in suburban Newcastle Sparrowhawks are not uncommon. I have had some of my best views of these birds as they sweep over in gyres (?) – circles to me; or, dip between the T.V. aerials trying to catch the unsuspecting. Last week in Byker I saw starlings (few of them nowadays) wheeling in a pack and every pigeon and gull in the area up overhead at once, a sure sign a Sparrowhawk is about. Sparrowhawks do not take their prey on the wing, choosing to stoop on perching birds.

The green belt around this city is largely free of wildlife as such; suburbia is a much better place to be than out there where the grass is unnaturally green and uniform and hedgerows have been replaced by hi-tech barbed wire. What few trees remain are dead or dying.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photograph. In March this year I was walking through the centre of the Scottish Central Belt small town where I live and was stunned by the hurtling passage, about ten feet in front of me and at roughly head height, of a sparrow-hawk with a pigeon in its talons. The number of dozy doos perching around the town must be like being handed your tea on a plate for raptors.