We just had to share this amazing video of a male sparrowhawk feeding on a woodpigeon on The Garlings last Friday sent in by Jenny Street.
Sparrowhawks are the most likely birds of prey to visit our gardens and we are very lucky in Aldbourne to have at least two individuals which are quite active around the village. However, they are often mistaken for the smaller and faster peregrine falcon (a pair of which call the St Michael's church tower home). A few ways to tell the species apart include the eye colour (yellow in sparrowhawks and black in peregrines), the characteristic dark mask in the peregrine which is absent in sparrowhawks and sparrowhawks have more rounded wings and a longer tail.
The two species hunt in different ways. The peregrine attack prey from a height, swooping down at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour to catch flying birds before returning to their high perches to stash or eat them. By contrast, sparrowhawks rely on short bursts of speed at at low-level and then usually land and pluck their prey on the ground or in a tree.
The diet of our village peregrines is being monitored as part of a nationwide study. If you happen to find any food remains (feathers, bones etc) in the churchyard please place them at the base of the tower so they can be easily spotted by our monitors. Thank you. For more information see: https://www.aldbournewildlife.com/peregrine-project