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Bird of Prey

maranello
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Bird of Prey


Are there any twitchers out there (as opposed to tweeters) who can help to identify a bird of prey from the following description. Yesterday, a grey bird with speckled light brown coloured breast attacked a blackbird in my garden. It had a smallish head for a bird of its size, with a short but lethal looking curved beak. From a distance of about 30 yards I was able to watch it ripping the blackbird apart. I didn't want to disturb it as I'm hoping it will stay around and deter the pigeons that are nesting nearby and crapping everywhere. I didn't want to get any closer either until it had got rid of most of the gore. All that remained of the blackbird was its feathers, legs, and some entrails. As I didn't see it in flight I can't give any estimate of wingspan, but standing it was about 10 inches tall.
My other car isn't a Ferrari
19 REPLIES
jmd
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Bird of Prey

Probably a buzzard.
pierre_pierre
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Re: Bird of Prey

Buzzard are mainly Carrion Eaters, try this one  Sparrow Hawk  not likely to be a Kestral
There are also Honey Buzzard, Merlin (Very Small), red Kite, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Gos Hawk, Golden Eagle, Hobby, Peregrine.
Details are all on the same web site
randpwar
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Re: Bird of Prey

Male Sparrowhawk is the favourite. As is the way with many birds of prey the male is quite a bit smaller than the female; he’s about the size of a Dove, whereas she is big enough to take Jackdaws and young Crows. The colour you describe also suggests a male as the female is brown and a bit dull. The MO sounds about right as well as Sparrowhawks are ambush predators. They usually employ a ‘plucking perch' on top of a fencepost or suchlike, if you’re really lucky he’ll use it time and again; as long as you’re not upset by the sight of fluffy little things being killed and eaten. Buzzards are far too big to use gardens unless you’ve recently been found out claiming expenses for your moat.  Wink.
maranello
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Re: Bird of Prey


Thanks for all the suggestions and links. Having looked at the RSPB sites, my money is on it being a sparrowhawk. I'll try and keep the camera handy in case it comes back.
Quote from: randpwar
if you’re really lucky he’ll use it time and again; as long as you’re not upset by the sight of fluffy little things being killed and eaten.

I don't really mind as long as they clean up after themselves, there is a plentiful supply of pigeons and (grey) squirrels.
My other car isn't a Ferrari
randpwar
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Re: Bird of Prey

Quote from: maranello

I don't really mind as long as they clean up after themselves, there is a plentiful supply of pigeons and (grey) squirrels.

Good luck, hope he comes back time and again for you, however, I 'm afraid your squirrel population won't be affected as Sparrowhawks almost exclusively only take smaller birds
pierre_pierre
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Re: Bird of Prey

my local one seems to have a bigger appitite then, I have a video of it somewhere devouring a Collard Dove in my small garden, only 30 ft x 30 ft, and last time I came back from the hols there were what appeared to be a lot of Pigeon feathers on the lawn
randpwar
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Re: Bird of Prey

Yeah, sorry Pierre_pierre what I meant was that they prey on birds only (well, almost exclusively) and leave seemingly potentially vulnerable rodents etc alone. I've always thought that a little odd that they seem to ignore an easy meal; I wonder if it's to do with their MO being more likely to succeed with birds?  Undecided But yes, the female especially can take quite big prey. They’re quite a muscular bird aren’t they
scootie
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Re: Bird of Prey

a cat round round here started catching wood peigions and eating them  Roll eyes .
The resident sparrow hawk caught on to this and i caught it mobing the cat away and to my surrpise it manged to fly off with the wood piegion not to far but far enough for it to safely eat its macdonalds drive through happy meal
http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,75762.0.html
pics here of the sparrow hawk i got in my garden eating a starling or blackbird but due to size my monney went on starling.
might help you identify your bird as the pics are not the best so probally more like the view you saw of yours
pierre_pierre
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Re: Bird of Prey

nice pics of a Female Sparrow Hawk
scootie
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Re: Bird of Prey

just rembered when my sister played a trick on me one moring using the rspb sparrow hawk link.
woke up one morning to the sound of a sparrowhawk going mad.
so jumped out off bed trying to find said bird To find my sister walking about with her laptop on the rspb page playing the sound clip on full blast  Embarrassed
maranello
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Re: Bird of Prey


Good pics ASBO, and now I'm pretty certain that it was a sparrow hawk in my garden.
My other car isn't a Ferrari
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Bird of Prey

last place i lived was high up and i had a sparrowhawk live nearby.  she once landed on my dormer and i was able to look up at her.  she regarded me with interest for a couple of minutes and then flew off.  she didn't appear to mind my presence.
since moving, i now have an enclosed rear garden that is allowed to be wild.  where i've shifted earth to make mounds, the foxes have built a home and they do nicely on the squirrels that i feed in winter.  i fear that a sparrowhawk wouln't be interested.
pierre_pierre
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Re: Bird of Prey

I have found the Video Tape that the SparrowHawk is on its a female, also how do Hedgehogs make love, got to edit them down to size then will post them, Sorry but off out shopping now
Community Veteran
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Re: Bird of Prey

Quote from: pierre_pierre
also how do Hedgehogs make love

Very carefully!
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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