Saturday, 29th October 2005, page 1 of 2

sparrowhawk mantlingBarbara hears an alarm amongst the birds as a female sparrowhawk swoops over the hedge at our feeder and takes her prey to the border alongside the lawn. She mantles (spreads her wings over her prey) and, after a minute or so, flies off with it towards the wood.

goldfinches at the feederIt was probably one of the goldfinches which are our most regular visitors to the niger seed and sunflower hearts. I feel guilty about putting the goldfinches in danger but a sparrowhawk could strike just about anywhere, at any time in the wild. I like to have the goldfinches about but I also like to see sparrowhawks and the brutal fact is that they have to eat too but any bird that they take from our bird feeder - even a humble sparrow, their nominal prey - is going to be one that I wish could have got away, just this once. Next Page

Richard Bell,