|Pink-footed Geese flying over Loch Leven|
|Fieldfare in silhouette atop a Yew|
|Yew berries galore|
Moments later, I heard a commotion in the yew tree directly behind where I was sitting on the grass. Then a bird appeared at the bottom of the tree, flapping about, almost within touching distance of me. It flew off a few metres to stop under another yew, and then I saw it was a male Sparrowhawk who had just snatched a Redwing. It proceeded to stand on its prey, pounding its legs up and down on the flailing Redwing, who was desperately trying to escape the embedded talons. Beak gasping, as hawk plucked at its feathers.
You can watch the video on YouTube here or below (but don't watch if squeamish!)
Finally, I watched as the Redwing drew its final breath, it's head went limp to the ground, surrounded by it's own downy feathers. Within seconds the Sparrowhawk had lifted its meal and carried it off elsewhere to eat.
Sparrowhawks do get a bad press, especially when they go into gardens and snatch the song birds by the bird feeders, but if there was not a healthy population of birds for them to eat, they wouldn't be there - especially with us feeding the birds thereby encouraging a good food source for the hawks! Yes, it was sad to watch as the Redwing succumbed, but the hawk was hungry. That's nature.
|Stunning male Sparrowhawk, with Redwing prey|
© Karen Hartnell - all images and text may not be reproduced in any way.