Collared Sparrowhawk & prey

To: 'John Layton' <>, 'Canberra birds' <>
Subject: Collared Sparrowhawk & prey
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2021 06:31:38 +0000

The Accipiter genus appear to be known for this somewhat brutal method of killing prey. If you wish to search this, there is plenty of film of this on internet. Known for a long time, from at least when falconry was popular. In contrast to the falcons, such as the Peregrine that kill quickly and was nicknamed as “gentle”.




From: Canberrabirds [ On Behalf Of John Layton
Sent: Tuesday, 13 July, 2021 5:27 PM
To: Canberra birds
Subject: [Canberrabirds] Collared Sparrowhawk & prey


While standing at the end of our driveway this morning I heard a shrill, truncated twitter and, a second later, a small raptor flew past me carrying a little brown bird. Despite the small prey the hawk seemed to be schlepping along as it rose above the carport, crossed the yard and came to rest in the upper branches of a tall silver birch. As I watched, the hawk began to pluck its quarry but I was unable to identify it, so I went to fetch my binoculars thinking that by the time I got back  the little nimrod would have vanished.


Anyhow, it was still plucking away when I returned and identified the prey as a female House Sparrow. As I watched I heard a shrill incessant twitter that I thought was coming from the hawk, perhaps whistling while it worked. But no, it was the sparrow that, despite being skewered by talons and plucked, remained alive and twittering if not kicking. Ten seconds later the Collared Sparrowhawk flew away carrying its brunch which seemed to have fallen silent.


I’m often surprised when confronted by the small size of these hawks, particularly the males which, I suppose, this one was as it would have been no more than middleweight in the Red Wattlebird division.


John Layton


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