Garden Bird Drama

doughnut

Über Member
I'm no birdwatcher (and it turns out not a photographer either) but we've been watching a pair of pigeons building a nest in a tree about 20ft from our bedroom window for the last couple of weeks and it was starting to look like they were settled in and ready to do their thing. This morning however I opened the window and found some other eagley/hawky type thing sitting on a branch about 6ft from the nest and the pigeons gone. It didn't actually go near the nest while we were watching - instead it looks like its got it eye on the bird table which is closer to the house.

Are there any birdwatchers out there who can tell what the hawk thing is? And is this game over for the pigeons family? As far as I can tell there were no chicks in the nest but I dont know whether eggs had been laid yet. The pigeons were still taking more twigs, etc to build the nest yesterday though its a fairly substantial thing already.
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516752
 

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Looks like a Goshawk.
https://www.birdspot.co.uk/bird-identification/goshawk

Lucky you :-)
 
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OP
doughnut

doughnut

Über Member
Its flown away while I was writing the post and all the other usual birds (sparrows, blue tits, chaffinches, etc, etc) have come back again. Didn't realise at the time that there were no other birds in the garden while the hawk thing was there. Most importantly the pigeon parents are back and checking out their nest again - so its all good again.

Goshawk
Sparrowhawk

They look pretty similar and if I had to choose from the pictures it would be Goshawk, but the maps and descriptions on those pages make me think its a Sparrowhawk. I'm about halfway between Manchester and Preston, so outside the Goshawk area.
 

Oldfentiger

Veteran
Location
Pendle, Lancs
It's difficult to gauge size as there's nothing in the pics to give scale. It's in a tree, is it a big tree or a little tree? :laugh:
 
OP
doughnut

doughnut

Über Member
It looks big... maybe @Fab Foodie has it right (?!)
More likelier is sparrowhawk. Where do yo live @doughnut? Any of th places named in this here link....?

Here is a goshawk link

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/birds-prey/goshawk
I'm in Northern England - a few miles from Chorley, Lancashire. In a fairly large village, and not particularly close to woodland though just a few hundred yards from a canal which has plenty trees alongside it.
 
OP
doughnut

doughnut

Über Member
It's difficult to gauge size as there's nothing in the pics to give scale. It's in a tree, is it a big tree or a little tree? :laugh:
The whole tree is about as high as a 2 story house, so maybe 30ft high. The bird itself was probably about as long as the pigeons, though a lot thinner, so maybe 10-15 inches from top of head to end of tail feathers.
 

Oldfentiger

Veteran
Location
Pendle, Lancs
Just had a look in my bird book. RSPB 2002
They both look really similar.
Goshawk 48-62cm 400 pairs in Britain
Sparrowhawk 28-38cm (female larger than male). Bird in OP looks like female. 32,000 pairs in Britain.
Given the numbers we are more likely to see Sparrowhawks.
 
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