sparrowhawkRichard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

Birds at the Feeder

Tuesday, 13th February, 2007
the woodgoldfinchTHERE’S A GATHERING of goldfinches on the telephone wires in front of the house. They line up 6 on one wire, 8 on the next, likes swallows gathering to migrate.

Goldfinches need to be wary around here: this lunchtime a male sparrowhawk swoops into the garden, turns sharply between the bird-feeder and the hedge and almost catches a collared dove that was feeding on the tray.

The sparrowhawk, a trim, grey male, swishes down the garden in broad zigzags like Zorro brandishing his rapier. He’s soon across the meadow and over the bare trees in the wood, swooping and climbing like a World War I biplane in a dogfight.

pheasantThe pheasants have pecked around the base of the feeder so much that there’s now a funnel-shaped hole there. Dig any more and, as the soil is so wet, there’s a chance that they’ll bring the whole thing crashing down.

collared doveIt looks like a post in a hole on a golf course. It’s so deep now that the collared dove can hunker down in there as it pecks around for spilt sunflower hearts.