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Post Info TOPIC: Species in Focus - Sparrowhawk


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RE: Species in Focus - Sparrowhawk


I'm afraid I did not lift the corpse, it was just feathers so had been there a little while.

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That's great Henry to have confirmed breeding of Sparrowhawk in this area, although very sad to hear about the dead female. Did you by any chance retrieve the corpse? If so you could send it off to the Centre for Hydrology & Ecology (formerly the Institute for Terrestrial Ecology) for analysis of any harmful residues. Alternatively Henry McGhie at Manchester Museum is always interested in bird corpses in good condition.

Let's hope the male is able to provide enough prey (although it will be of smaller species) for the young to fledge.

Steve

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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It was very pleasing to confirm Sparrowhawk breeding within Europe's largest industrial estate, Trafford Park, this morning. This is quite a statement of how large the recovery of Sparrowhawk has been, that they are utilising small copses and that there is sufficient food resources to feed a family in what appears on the surface to be a poor environment for wildlife. Unfortunately the discovery was marred by finding the corpse of the female bird near the nest, not sure how it perished. Still, the male was resolutely making repeated feeding forays and at least one youngster was heard loudly begging.
Thanks. Henry.

-- Edited by Henry Cook on Thursday 4th of August 2011 03:08:22 PM

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The first issue of the Leigh Ornithological Society's newsletter published in November 1971 contains an interesting comment regarding Sparrowhawk.
"Several local observers have seen Merlins on the mossland. There are probably a few of these small falcons now in the locality. Not so the Sparrow Hawk, recorded on the mossland on the 6th November. Once a fairly common bird of prey in these parts, the Sparrow Hawk is now a rare visitor."

Thankfully , in common with many other birds of prey, Sparrowhawk has now made a full recovery following the ban on DDT and other organochlorine pesticides. There can be little doubt that it must be now breeding in most areas of the county wherever there is a small copse of mature trees or larger area of woodland.

The stats are as follows:

BBGM
Occupied 75 tetrads (23% of total tetrads)
Confirmed 25 tetrads (33% of occupied tetrads)
Probable 13 tetrads (17% of ots)
Possible 37 tetrads (49% of ots)

GM Atlas 2008-10
Occupied 124 tetrads (38% of total tetrads)
Confirmed 33 tetrads (44% of occupied tetrads)
Probable 26 tetrads (21% of ots)
Possible 65 tetrads (52% of ots)

So although the number of occupied tetrads has increased, this almost certainly isn't a true reflection of its current status in GM. Sparrowhawk is a late breeder waiting until the woodland canopy is in full leaf before nesting. So from now into August is the ideal time to confirm breeding. Whilst it may be relatively difficult to actually locate the nest of this species, adults carrying prey will be fairly conspicuous (FF).
However, by far the easiest way to confirm breeding of Sparrowhawk is to listen out for the hunger cries of juveniles, either before, or after fledging.
Juv Sparrowhawk calls

Once you tune your ears in these are very distinctive. You don't need to see the juvs or the adults to confirm breeding, as the hunger calls indicate that they are still dependent. Please don't forget to use the breeding code FL. The only likely confusion species is Kestrel but apart from being present in open country the calls are distinctly different. Juv Kestrel calls

So please help put Sparrowhawk back on the GM distribution map by filling in a few of the gaps in the final weeks of the Atlas. By the way, although the core recording period for the Atlas officially ends on 31st July you can continue submitting records through until the end of August. This can be a good month for confirming a number of species such as House Martin and Swallow.



-- Edited by Steve Atkins on Tuesday 26th of July 2011 07:42:50 PM

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