Reader’s wildlife photo

January 29, 2015 • 6:35 am

I say “photo” above because there’s only one, but it’s a doozy—and also a bit sad. I was going to post some India photos this morning, but an email arrived from biologist Jacques Hausser in Switzerland with a photo and a short tale.

This occurred half an hour ago in my garden: a female sparrow hawk (Accipiter nisus) caught a female great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopus major)… although they were thirty house sparrows available around the feeder!


25 thoughts on “Reader’s wildlife photo

  1. Wow. Maybe the sparrows would have mobbed the hawk, but of course they could do that regardless of its chosen target.

    1. Maybe more “realistic” than “grim”? Would we feel that way seeing a sparrow take a grasshopper, I wonder…

  2. What an amazing shot. It’s interesting, the bird we once called “Sparrow Hawk” in the U.S is now called American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)a much smaller bird in the family Falconidae.

  3. Might be the biggest danger to the smaller birds are not cats, but these Kestrels.

    This is why it is a must to have plenty of evergreen trees on the place. Some think it is just for the green in winter but it’s for the bird protection. Lots of blue spruce and other evergreens makes for a lot more birds.

  4. I think that woodpeckers are often preferred prey over passerines by accipiters both because of their larger size and that they are both slower and less maneuverable in flight. We have a Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) in our specimen collection at my college due to its being nailed by a Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) just as they both hit my mist net. The woodpecker died in my hand after removal. The hawk (a male) I banded and released.

  5. No more sad (less, actually)than when we eat a cow, pig, chicken, etc. Hawks can’t live on birdseed, and they don’t realize that sparrows are worth less than woodpeckers….

      1. Sorry again — I was being ironic. I admire all birds, those that eat seeds and those that eat the ones that eat seeds.

      2. Plainly “Art” is woodpecker-ese for “people”.
        Never seen a woodpecker that can type before. But if I dared to search youtube, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more evidence of the behaviour.
        ‘Scuse me, I have to speak to some monkeys about their script for ‘Hamlet’.

  6. A few years ago I’d just awakened and was walking into the family room when I head a loud thud up against one of the sliding glass doors. Looked outside to find a young Cooper’s hawk sitting over a red-bellied woodpecker with a broken neck. It took some time for the Copper’s hawk to get its bearings back, I guess it really hit the door hard.

Leave a Reply