I love to watch garden birds, it takes the edge off washing the dishes when you’ve something interesting to look at outside the kitchen window. I always keep the feeders well stocked with a variety of treats, this doesn’t mean you don’t get times when the numbers drop off, seasonal behaviour and the abundance of food from natural sources all play a part.
But there are some days the seed doesn’t go down much for another reason (see above and below!). Whilst I do feel bad for the occasional bird the sparrowhawk manages to catch, the only reason they come regularly is because (like all the other birds) there’s a chance of any easy meal. I say easy, sparrow hawks are only successful in 10-50% of attacks (so I’ve read), and by situating the feeders near cover I like to think I’m giving the birds a fighting chance.
Most of the time the sparrow hawks fly through at speed (once, right by my head as I was fixing the shed roof) as they try to surprise their prey, but every now and then they just sit on the feeder, not sure why. Perhaps they’re ‘casing the joint’ to work out the best attack route, or maybe they are just being lazy and hoping their prey will come to them.
Whilst the sparrowhawk below was tucking into a blackbird there was a pigeon no more than 4 feet away eating seed off the lawn … either the pigeon was bright enough to know it was safe, or too daft to realise what was going on.
With some free time I’m hoping to get a better photo as these were just ‘grab’ shots.