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Sparrowhawk with another Mouse

Sparrowhawk with another Mouse (Accipiter nisus)

Awkward lighting, but I wanted to show and explain behaviour.

Fred took another one yesterday, you should be able to see the tail hanging down. I've now worked out why Fred, and maybe other Sparrowhawks, given the choice, prefer Mice to Birds.

I've seen male Sparrowhawks eat every bird from Blue Tit to Collared Dove (very rarely), and I've seen it from attack to just a pile of feathers. A Sparrow takes at least 15 minutes to eat, a Blackbird 30 minutes plus. There's plenty of waste; mostly feathers, but often bones left in the pile.

Mice are different. I watched Fred eat the Mouse from start to finish yesterday. There was nothing left, no bones or fur, not even the tail. It took less than 7 minutes. I'd guess a similar amount of nutrition to a Sparrow, but only half the time taken to eat it. After cleaning his bill and talons, Fred was watching for another Mouse within a minute of finishing eating.

Camera Maker: SONY
Camera Model: SLT-A58
Lens: 75-300mm F4.5-5.6
Image Date: 2015-04-01 11:02:56 (no TZ)
Focal Length: 300.0mm (35mm equivalent: 450mm)
Aperture: /5.6
Exposure Time: 0.020 s (1/50)
ISO equiv: 400
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: program (Auto)
White Balance: Auto
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB
GPS Coordinate: undefined, undefined
Copyright: 2015 Chris K
London UK
Date taken
Scientific name
Accipiter nisus
Equipment used
Sony SLT-A58 + Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG APO Macro
Staff member
A cracker of a shot and narrative Chris and Fred is looking good this morning, many tfs.
Voracious appetite he has! Very fine behavior observation and a super capture of Fred at his favorite pastime, Chris!! tfs.
Another Super shot of him Chris, great narrative and explanation. He obviously has his own diet worked out, easy catch and a quick snack, Tfs
I think birds of prey need to eat fur for their well being, so no need to be picky eaters! Fabulous image and info Chris.
Staff member
Opus Editor
I love your narratives Chris. A great picture this too.

It just made me think... have you ever noticed them take a mouse away - perhaps to a nest?

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