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Death In The Garden

1st of April 2011

made a kill. I always have a look to see if I can tell what is on the menu; pigeon is very popular. This time I got a surprise as there among the feathers was the body of the sparrowhawk itself. So often I have watched it nimbly whizzing through the trees and only last month, when I took part in the Big Garden Bird Watch, I saw it swoop round the bird table trying to catch one of my robins. Maybe its lack of success was part of its downfall as there was no obvious cause of death. It did not seem to be excessively thin; its breast bone was not showing like a sickly chicken’s does. The most striking thing about the corpse was its long slender bright yellow legs. They were tipped with needle sharp black talons, ready to grab its prey in midair. Since finding the body I have not seen another flying in the garden, and although I love to see the small birds that were its food supply, I miss it. Its short rounded wings and long tail gave it great manoeuverability in among the trees; one moment it was there and the next it was gone, the small birds diving into the dense bushes to escape those long legs and sharp talons. I expect another will come and claim the territory, perhaps not until this year’s youngsters fly the nest. It would only be a short flight for the youngsters from the nest toi the larch trees in Scatterdells Wood. I think I must be the only ‘bird’ in the garden.
Wendy Bathurst

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