My Mum and Dad have a great garden and they make good use of it, but they aren’t the only ones. They have a couple of bird tables, various feeders, nesting boxes, even some bat boxes, all laid around the garden to let the birds enjoy the garden too. Now when I say birds, I mean lots of birds. They don’t just get the odd visitor, at peak periods of the day the garden can resemble a school dinner queue (prior to Jamie Oliver getting involved), it gets really busy and pretty amazing to watch.
What’s also amazing is the sheer variety of birds they see, the usual birds you see flying around to doves, racing pidgeons, even a domestic dove was spotted the other day, but this visitor takes the biscuit.
Something happened one day to break the tranquillity of McBrunton’s feeding stop, the arrival of a Sparrow Hawk. Oh no, I’m not kidding, and my quick thinking Mum manage to grab the camera and show the damage, for the garden birds are not the only ones who need to feed.
The Sparrow Hawk chose his meal carefully and plummeted from the sky, and here he is surveying his kill.
Apparently he sat in the garden feeding for about an hour, and I’m sure the other birds were keeping well away.
I think birds of prey are amazing creatures and just so wonderful to watch. They have this regal, aloof quality that seems quite arrogant, but they do convey a feeling of power and precise danger. I’ve flown an Eagle Owl from my arm before, and he’s come back to eat a piece of meat from my hand, and you feel tremendously humble next to such an animal. You know that it could easily turn on you and seriously hurt, if not kill, without question, but they don’t, and the Eagle Owl let me stroke him and fly him. It was a fantastic experience.
Still, you don’t expect one to drop out of the sky and grab a Sparrow from your back garden!
Where I live there are foxes and squirrels. The foxes are very hard to spot and you need to be on your toes in the early hours of the morning or late of the night, whereas squirrels are quite common and you’ll see them racing along the fence tops or even sitting on a wall mounted electricity box. It’s a nice thing to see wildlife like these running around the midst of urbanised areas. It shows us that we haven’t totally taken over, and that creatures like this beautiful one are a mere second or two away.