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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 20:50   #1
geordie birder
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local sparrowhawk observations

at work today, my workmate was telling me about his 'big hawk thing' sighting that he recently witnessed on his neighbours doorstep.

he thought it was a sparrowhawk, that had a broken wing at first, as he was first brought to attention by the bird screaming and with one wing fully extended..........

that was untill he noticed the blackbird underneath the hawks wing!!!

he couldnt believe a hawk could take a bird of this size, untill i mentioned to him that they will take woodpidgeon sized birds when the needs take them!

anyway, all this sparrowhawk talk got me all wound up for a little hawk watching of my own, and with me being on a half day, i was straight over to my 'old stomping ground' near the banks of the river tyne.

there is two pair of nesting sparrowhawks in the area that i know. and both seemed to of produced young at roughly the same time. the sites are about 400 - 500 metres apart, witch i thought was a little close, although there is lots of pidgeons etc for all to share.

the birds themselves are quite easy to find, even easier seeing as both sites have young that are now fully fledged, altough are still being fed by the adult birds. the young are VERY vocal, and have been for the past 3 weeks. there call is similar to what a cat would make, strangely enough.

untill recently, the best views have been of the adult birds taking food back to the nest site, around 15ft up in the tree tops (old magpie nests). although today i thought i would actually wait and see if a fledgeling would show itself to me today, as they should be learning to hunt by now.

so onto my high vantage point i went, passing the nest on the way i couldnt help noticing and hearing both sparrowhawks and the ever present magpies, that share the same group of trees.

the young themselves are near constanty calling out, they never seem to stop!. with magpies always within a couple of metres of the young birds, the first sightings were of the big female hawk chasing magpies around the treetops, what a mover!

i watched this go on and on for about 30mins, before i finally saw my first young hawk, screaming out as it followed it's parent throughout the tree tops - chasing magpies away!!!

they ARE learning - exellent!

i also noticed that, although the young bird would follow it's parent in the tree tops, when the adult left the safety of the trees into the open grassland where i was sitting, the young bird would ALWAYS turn back and land.

this was interesting. although the young hawk was fully grown and more than capable of chasing away it's ever threatening neighbours, when the adult was present that was, when alone though it seemed to just sit there and let itself be divebombed by magpies and even great tits!!!

i stayed a little longer, to see if the female would come back with a meal, witch it did not. but i did get to see a quick glimpse of the male bird, as it flew from the ground under neath some trees, i couldnt tell if it was carrying prey.

there you go. a little insight of one of my favourite birds in my old stomping ground.

i am really pleased that these birds are here, although im not sure about the the other birds, especially the 'food' as it were, such as chiff chaff, chaffinch, gold finch and great tits - that the sparrowhawks seem to love!

just wish they would take a few woopidgeons and magpies instead.........
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regards, Richie
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 21:39   #2
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Interesting report & observations Richie.
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 22:24   #3
Karl J
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Yes indeed it is, cheers Richie
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