Thursday, 4 May 2017

A Sparrowhawk's Victim

I almost collided with a sparrowhawk in the garden one afternoon. He'd been on the ground by the fence plucking a bird he'd just killed, and took off with what looked like a very small, plucked chicken in his talons, leaving behind a neat circle of feathers.

From the feathers, it seems most likely that his victim was a collared dove. Having been without doves through most of the winter, a pair appeared a few weeks ago. Now there's one. In this picture he looks sad but he soon recovered from his loss....

....and now behaves as if he owns the garden, chasing away a pair of doves which which are fairly regular visitors to our seed tables

The collared dove is one of the great success stories of the avian world, having spread from its homelands of subtropical Asia, from Turkey east to southern China and south through India to Sri Lanka, to colonise North Africa and Europe as far north as the Arctic circle - and then to escape captivity in the Bahamas to invade North America.

1 comment:

  1. It's sad, but unavoidable in the world of nature, I guess. The first time I became aware that hawks pluck the birds they kill before eating them was a few years ago when I looked outside to see feathers raining down from my avocado tree. I went out to investigate and saw a hawk up there plucking a (hopefully) dead mocking bird. A horrible sight. Sigh.