Sparrow hawk

Hi everyone, I’m looking for some help.  We have a really active bird community in our garden. Lots of different species. We live next to open farm land, our house is bordered by a large very high hedge and trees. Our bird feeder in the front garden is under a very large, wide spread oak tree. However, over the last few days we seem to have a sparrowhawk visiting and taking some of the birds. Young starlings and a blackbird. It lands in the garden quite brazenly. We have a great love for birds of prey and all birds but how can we deter this sparrowhawk. Watching the garden birds is one of our favourite things. Can anyone suggest anything. Thank you. 

  • Hi, Realistically, the quickest way to reduce predation in the garden is to reduce the density of prey. To do that is to remove supplementary food. Might seem drastic, but natural food supplies this time of year should be ample, esp for species like blackbirds and starlings. Hawks will take prey wherever, but are bound to focus on dense bird populations.
  • In reply to ItisaRobbo:

    Thank you for replying and your advice. I decided not to put bird food out for a few days to see what happens. Trouble is I don’t want to deter the little birds, blue tits, great tits, goldfinches etc. in all the 30 years we’ve lived here never had this before.
  • In reply to Lynne Wyatt:

    Their predation can be less obvious for much of the year. It gets very obvious when there is a hawk nest in the area, which could well be the case now. It might also be that there haven't been hawk nests in your area until this year. This area seems quiet so far this year, which if it continues would be the first since we moved here a decade ago.
  • In reply to ItisaRobbo:

    Thank you for your reply. We see other birds of prey circling in the skies above us and the farmland next to us but as I mentioned before never had this happen before. Must admit part of me is a bit wow that we’ve seen this sparrowhawk so close. They are amazing birds and I know it just how the natural world goes, just rather not see it take our garden birds. I can only assume it’s got a nest somewhere over the farmland.
  • The other birds of prey you see circling will probably hunt in a different manner and as Robbo says the Sparrowhawk may be a newcomer to the area. The hawks may have young to feed and so they naturally visiting the area with the best chance. I suppose you could stop feeding to reduce the number of birds in your garden but really this is just nature at work

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • In reply to Seaman:

    I was thinking possibly most likely buzzards circling.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • Thanks everyone for your advice and comments. Really appreciate it. We have decided to basically live and let live re the sparrowhawk. Having accepted that it might be a regular visitor along with the Jackdaws, Rooks, Jays etc we are continuing to feed our amazing garden birds as normal. However we haven’t seen the sparrowhawk for a couple of days. Thanks again everyone, so glad I joined this bird community.
  • Lynne, best to just sit back and enjoy nature showing off, better in real life than Springwatch on the telly

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can