Worcestershire Record No. 22 April 2007 p. 9


Mike Southall

Reading the recent articles on Sparrowhawk feeding behaviour brings to mind several observations from the past. I recall working in my garden and hearing several calls coming from the lane on the other side of my front hedge. These calls put me in mind of a baby in pain as I had young children at that time. I went to investigate and came upon a Sparrowhawk pinning down a Great-spotted Woodpecker. As soon as I appeared, the birds took off in opposite directions. By calling out, the Woodpecker had effectively saved its own life.

On another occasion I was walking along the side of a coppice when a Sparrowhawk attacked a starling which had been in the coppice. Again the Sparrowhawk left very quickly when it saw me. The Starling dropped like a stone into the coppice. On investigation the Sparrowhawk had removed half of the Starlings skull with the single strike, killing it instantly.

I have also witnessed a Sparrowhawk plucking a Wood Pigeon while the bird was still alive. Nature, red in tooth and claw, or rather bill and talon.

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