1 EAGLETON NOTES: The Hunter Hunted

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Monday, 8 October 2012

The Hunter Hunted

A few years ago a sparrowhawk trying to pick up breakfast from my bird table misjudged the terrain  which is higher than the level of the bird table just a few metres away.  After missing its intended prey it crash-landed into the astilbes in the garden and took a few seconds to recover from its surprise and fly off.  It all happened half a dozen metres from where I was standing and so quickly that I didn't have time to get my camera.

Today, as I stepped out of the shower, my phone was ringing and the cellphone (it doesn't stop telling me a text has arrived until I acknowledge it) was indicating the arrival of several texts.  I walked through to the kitchen where the phones were and saw a sleekit white cat which I detest from up the township (who's owner proudly tells me that it catches at least one bird or animal every day) stalking something which was obviously only a yard or so away.  As I was about to hammer on the window I realised that there was a young sparrowhawk just outside with its back to the cat.  What happened then happened within a few milliseconds.  The sparrowhawk saw the cat and turned and flew off right in front of me.  Whether it had been successful in catching something I don't know but if it had been then it managed to take it with it.

As I was typing the last paragraph I realised why the sparrows have not been back to the table since that happened 4 or more hours ago: the sparrowhawk is still on patrol - I have just seen him again.

The sparrows now have much more cover than they did a few years ago because I've grown lots of bushes into which they disappear in the garden.

A few days ago I also hit on the idea of putting the bird feeder into the bird table area protected from the pigeons because they had managed t overcome every obstacle I'd used to stop them hooving out the seed from the feeders.  The pigeons will not give up but this time I'm fairly certain that I've won!



12 comments:

  1. That white cat you detest is simply doing what it was made to do... (as you know, of course). But I understand you don't want to have bloodshed in your garden all the time, and I am glad to know that the young hawk got away unharmed!

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    1. I detest the cat because it is a sleekit creature Meike. I can't explain why. I like cats but not this one. Same as humans I suppose: sometimes you just can't tell why. Why do we like eagles and hawks (even when they are trying to kill the things we love) but not pigeons? They all have the same right to life.

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  2. And that's no pigeon, that's a Rock Dove. True Rock Doves are only found in the Western isles these days, apparently. ;-) Just love the smug expression on the face of the Sparrow, though!

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    1. Yes I was rather amused by the sparrow Robyn. I usually refer to them as rock doves although I'm told that they have been officially re-classified as rock pigeons. The RSPB refers to them as Rock Doves/Feral Pigeons. Whatever they have the habits of pigeons and make a terrible mess of my roof and just about everywhere else they land.

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  3. You need one of those supasoaka water pistols for both the cat and the pigeons.

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    1. Well that occupied 10 minutes: looking at water canons on Amazon. Sounds like a good idea although my neighbours will probably think I'm even more eccentric than I really am.

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  4. One has to smile at last picture. Only hope you don't end up with strangled pigeons though (looking at the first one)...

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    1. They are too canny for that Monica.

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  5. Reminds me of Tweety Bird and Sylvester the cat. That sparrow not only looks smug but TRIUMPHANT!!!!!... I love it.
    I think Mr. Sparrow is eternally grateful for that brainwave that you had GB.....take a bow.

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    1. Thanks Virginia. I'd forgotten about Tweety Bird but you are so right.

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  6. Oh, the circle of life! The cat, the pigeon. As much as I love watching nature, it's hard sometimes!

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    1. Very hard, Lisa. 'Twas ever thus!

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