Sparrow Hawk problem

I live in the countryside in Devon and for the past few years have been feeding birds year round. I have until a few weeks ago had a constant procession of visitors to the feeding station (RSPB Feeder Mix and Nijer Seed). Now there are virtually none, the Greenfinches - gone, Goldfinches - gone, Nut Hatch - gone, Chaffinches from dozens to none, Blue, Coal and Great Tits - virtually gone. There was even a small flock of House Sparrows who have disappeared. Even the Blackbirds and Robins are gone. I now have got a virtually bird free garden. The only regular visitors are Sparrow Hawks. I saw one snatch a tit out of the Squirrel proof feeder. These 2 (a pair?) seem to visit the feeders on a regular schedule and have either scarred away the small birds or have simply eaten the local population.

My question is how do I deter the Predators with out harming them?

It is nice to see Sparrow hawks doing well but I don't want it to be at the expense of the entire local population of small birds and certainly not because of something I have done. My bird feeders are not intended to be a feeding station for Predators.

I have considered moving the feeders to a more sheltered location and/or putting a 2 inch mesh screen around the feeders so birds inside would be safe from predation. As a last resort I could stop feeding until the Sparrow Hawks get the message, but that may mean a winter without food for the few remaining birds, at least until the Sparrow hawk gets them.

Has any one had a similar problem and managed to solve it humanely? Sparrow Hawks are protected birds.

Sensible suggestions please.





  • You have created a fast food outlet for the Sparrowhawk by creating an area in which small birds concentrate to feed. Make sure there is plenty of shelter for the seall birds to escape into but Sparriwhawks are masters of agility and surprise. Removing feeders for a while will help and the small birds will return (and probably) so will the Sparrowhawk.).

    I seriously doubt that Buzzards will be taking cats - cats are seriously good at defending themselves for one thing and Buzzrds much prefer something hat isn't going to fight back - preferably something already dead Slight smile