how to minimise sparrowhawk attacks on bird tables?.

first time here ......

has anyone any ideas as to how to minimise sparrowhawk attacks on bird tables?.

i have 10 feeders of various types up and was getting a great variety of birds.

about 4 weeks ago a sparrowhawk started getting very active in the garden.

this male has killed at least six bird so far , i presume it is a male as they are reputed to attack the smaller birds while the larger female goes for the bigger ones.

i have no problem with each species doing its own thing but i do feel as though i am setting up a bird platter for the hawk.

it is eerie to watch the activity when the sparrowhawk is around , absolutely zero. sterile even , as to when he apparently is not it is like a bird airport .

any advise will be greatly appreciated , and by the way i think that the sparrowhawk is an absolutely stunning bird .



  • If you have a good scan through the forum there has been quite a lot of discussion on this,I think putting your feeders near shrubbery/bushes gives the birds chance of escape but others may have other ideas


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

  • In reply to doggie:

    seamans advise and your comments are what i need to hear and thank you for the welcome


  • In reply to doggie:

    I'm afraid it's an inevitable consequence of attracting so many birds into your garden. Apart from the suggestions already made I can only suggest you reduce or even remove the feeders for a while. The Sparrowhawk will have to search elsewhere and then perhaps you can reintroduce them gradually.



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  • In reply to TeeJay:

    thank you i will give that some thought and hope he will move to greener pastures



  • In reply to Seaman:

    Hello from a newbie! 

    I've had the daily sparrowhawk in the garden today. It's unsuccessfully attacked (part plucked) a collared dove but left without finishing the job. I've got the dove in a cat carrier. It seems ok but has red raw patches on its back. Any advice welcome as to what I should be doing next.  Thanks a lot.

  • In reply to Mrs H:

    Hi Mrs H welcome to the community.

    If it's "only" been plucked and not injured in some way and can still fly I would leave it in the carrier with a cover over door so it's dark for 24 hrs with some food and water just to make sure it isn't suffering from shock, or you could try a local vet if you have one, or look here to see if you have someone local that can help

    I've seen some in my garden recover from some severe plucking after having a lucky escape.

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  • Yes, unfortunately you have created a fast food restaurant and the Sparrowhawk is simply taking advantage of it. Thy need to eat to survive and cannot be blamed for taking the easy option. In fact hanging lots of feeders is one of the ways that some private hides offering Sparrowhawk photography are able to attract the subject in - a case of habituation. Having your feeders near cover would help the smaller birds escape but also remember that Sparrowhawks are masters of using cover themselves in surprise attacks - they will work out the position of feeders and find a surprise route in - so sometimes it helps if you move you can move your feeding station about in an attempt to frustrate. I agree with TJ that removing the feeders for a couple of weeks might help. 




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  • n.b. if a sparrowhawk does catch a bird, I'm afraid it's best left to finish the job. It will have just gone and caught another bird. A collared dove would be a decent catch and keep the hawk well fed. I've seen a couple of examples where a disturbed sparrowhawk has left its prey in a terrible state due to disturbance/intervention. (I've also seen a snipe get away unscathed to be fair). I don't fancy the dove's chances unless it's taken to a vet. Even then, it may be put down or die from stress. Good luck with it.

    Re stopping attacks, as Bob said. Move the feeders around as sparrowhawks get used to their locations. However, birds using feeders are always going to be targeted. It's nature.