Sunday, November 30, 2008

A grim end for a Goldfinch

Right now the garden is bare of cover, the leaves are all fallen and we've removed some other tree cover, the Elderberry, the Snowberry bush amongst others - all aimed at giving the natural hedgerow room to grow. At the same time it looks to have been a good year for breeding Sparrowhawks too. We have at least two individuals in the garden and often more than once each per day. We've seen them take at least three Goldfinch alone, in 3 days, and there's lots of time we're not watching the garden...

The latest victim was this afternoon (Sunday), after a spell of rain the garden quickly filled up with hungry birds. The alarm calls of the Blackbirds alerted us, they've only been back in the garden for the last two weeks but they are daily visitors again.

A male Sparrowhawk had grabbed a male Goldfinch and, unusually, had decided to eat it there and then:

Towards the end of the meal, he's made a real mess of Goldfinch and the garden. In Spring the feathers would quickly be snapped up for lining nests, however at this time of year they get justblown away, slowly, there will still be feathers here in a couple of weeks time:

The drama wasn't however finished as before the Sparrowhawk had finished his meal a Magpie moved in and forced him away, with the carcass, so it could browse for any uneaten meat. A grim end indeed for the Goldfinch.

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