Although the one I saw this morning was flapping quite high over Otley, I usually find their visits to my garden quite exhilarating. Not then the hunting methods of most of our local birds of prey - the soaring of the buzzard or the hovering of the kestrel – the sparrow-hawk dashes at low-level, dipping into the gardens to take small birds by surprise. Females are up to 25% bigger than the males, which is one of the biggest differences in any bird species, and this is reflected in their appetites – they tend to take starlings, thrushes and pigeons, whilst the males go for finches, tits and sparrows. It is believed that cuckoos look like sparrow-hawks in order to avoid aggression from the smaller birds whose nests and parenting they hope to borrow.
Photos by Pixabay