A new bird came to the feeders today – a sparrowhawk. There are some feeders hanging on a pole, and the hawk came in and banked round between the pole and the feeder, obviously intending to grab a bird on the way past. I don’t think he actually got one, but it was a hang on, what’s … a sparrowha.. gone kind of experience, so I couldn’t really tell. In fact it was so fleeting that I’m only confident of the identification because I got a surprisingly clear impression of the colours – blue-grey back and rufousy underneath.

(that’s not taken by me (I wish!); it’s © namq on Flickr)

So that was cool. There are a remarkable number of people in this country who feed the little birdies and enthuse about them, but turn into bloodthirsty nutters at the thought of jays, magpies, and sparrowhawks. It’s quite true, they do eat the smaller birds, but so what; that’s just what they do. The people who write letters to the Times about how many magpies they’ve trapped and killed, and how much more birdsong they think there is as a result, just seem barmy to me. I’m more than happy to sacrifice a few goldfinches in exchange for an occasional flash of russet and blue whipping past the feeders.

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