Thursday, December 03, 2020

The Raider

 Since I have been working from home, I have been watching the garden birds much more closely than usual, making some form of notes almost every day. Usually at this time I only see the garden in daylight at weekends so it is interesting to get to grips with what exactly is going on out there.

Take the Sparrowhawk for instance. This is a bird I assumed would visit occasionally to attack the bird table visitors, and Id see one maybe once a month in winter. What actually happens is that these birds are as frequent to our feeders as the Blue Tits! 

My kitchen window observations ( and the back bedroom window when I am at the computer) show that there are currently at least 1 juvenile female and a juvenile male making several visits each and every day. I was wondering why the seed feeders are often barely touched. Yesterday I had three sightings, 2 of the female and 1 of the male. Today there are no sightings yet but they are around. The other garden residents are very quiet or making those high pitched alarm calls, so the hawks are probably sitting quietly in cover waiting their chance.

Whilst this is a wholly natural process, my artificial feeding increases bird densities in this area, but the passerines seem to have a strategy for it in that most small birds have dispersed, I hope? My Tree and House Sparrows, for instance, are down to single figures of each, but not far away there are some game feed crops that attract seed eaters so I am hoping they have just gone there for a change. 

As birds numbers decrease, so the Sparrowhawks must also move on to find enough prey, allowing more birds to return, such is the circle of predator / prey relationships... I might give my feeders a move around into the other side garden at the weekend just to reduce the hawks familiarity with its ambush...



Gibster said...

Nice pics! I was reading about why lynx need such a huge territory. Their preferred large prey item is Roe Deer, yet after "working" an area for a week or so, the local deer get predator-savvy and are constantly on high alert making it less easy for the lynx to sneak up on them. Hence it wanders off several miles to a different population of deer which are easier targets. Once they too become predator savvy, the lynx moves on once more and so it goes. I wonder if your garden birds are now predator savvy and will your sprawks need to move off for a while? Interesting, time will tell.

Stewart said...

Cheers Seth, aye I suppose thats how both predator and prey species evolve together really. Literally cat and mouse.