I’m falling well behind with blogging. I’m due a fox update and also got a really nice set of horse-racing pictures that I should post (including some nice shots of this year’s champion jockey). But those are being put to one side (yet again) as when I got home late this afternoon a sparrowhawk was on the grass outside our back window devouring some prey (probably a pigeon).

I do occasionally see sparrowhawks come very close to the garden and in 17 years have seen one land on a fence or tree here twice, so being down, in the garden, and with prey was something very unexpected. The shots were taken through the (dirty) double-glazed back door so lack some clarity, but they certainly give an idea of what we spent a good 10 minutes watching. Assuming the prey is a pigeon this is most likely a female.


Sparrowhawk devouring prey in garden

Sparrowhawk with what appears to be a pigeon’s feather

Sparrowhawk with feathers strewn around

We didn’t get to see it finish its feast as it was disturbed by noise from one of the neighbours. But a special few minutes, for certain.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

This entry was posted in Bird of Prey, Birds, Wildlife and tagged .


  1. Darko October 18, 2018 at 2:38 am #

    Excellent photographs of a beautiful bird!!! Do you think it took a feather as a souvenir? 😀

    • Words October 22, 2018 at 12:12 am #

      They pluck the feathers, but she flew off with a good part of her prey when she was disturbed by noise from nearby. There were plenty of feathers lefts on the ground. One way of telling whether feather debris is by hawk or by fox is to look at the quill end of the feathers – if they are clean it’s a hawk; if they are broken it’s a fox.