Shop’s surprise visitors
The pitch at Bannockburn High School was scorched when vandals, marking Guy Fawkes night, let off fireworks on it.
Police have issued an appeal to try and trace those responsible. Stirling’s Hogmanay celebrations are returning to the castle esplanade.
Two firework displays and a programme of entertainment – featuring The Voice winner Stevie McCrorie – are planned for the area in front of the castle.
AStirling shopkeeper was left in a flap after a pair of surprise guests paid his city centre store a visit last week.
Saeed Khalily couldn’t believe what he was seeing when a sparrowhawk swooped into his Best One shop on the city’s Baker Street. The raptor flew through the open door shortly after 10am on Friday – knocked over a stack of Pot Noodles and made its way to the ice lollies before heading for the till.
The hawk, whose species are known to frequent city centres, was in hot pursuit of a pigeon which had earlier also entered the convenience store.
Mr Khalily, who captured the bizarre ordeal on CCTV, called in the help of his human customers before arming himself with a broom and blue box in a bid to rid his store of the birds.
In dramatic camera footage seen by the Observer the 52-yearold shop boss can be seen ducking and diving as the bird flaps around above his head.
He told the Observer: “I was just sitting in the shop dealing with a customer when a pigeon flew in – and then this hawk followed it. I couldn’t believe it.
“The hawk knocked over all of
the Pot Noodles and went towards the window. It was trying to get back outside. When it couldn’t get out it started flying around the shop and went down behind the freezer.
“I got some of the customers to help and we had to take the freezer away from the wall to help the bird out. I had the box and I was trying to catch it safely as we didn’t want it to injure itself.”
Mr Khalily explained that the sparrowhawk then headed to a window behind his till in a fresh bid to escape before eventually leaving via the front door – following the pigeon which had earlier left.
Puzzled by what he had seen he began surfing the internet in a bid to identify his feathered visitor – using a still image of the bird from his CCTV footage.
He added: “I was looking on Google and I think I found a few hawks which look quite similar. We have a lot of customers to the shop but I don’t often see any like this.”
After examining the footage the Observer’s Country View columnist Keith Graham identified the bird as a sparrowhawk. He said the species had moved into urban areas such as Stirling encouraged by the growing pigeon population.
Sparrowhawks are small birds of prey adapted for hunting birds in confined spaces.
Their wingspan can be 60cm to 80cm.
Their diet is predominantly small birds while the larger female often preys on bigger birds such as pigeons.
Its hunting technique relies on its stealth and it usually watches from a perch before flying fast and low – using all available cover.
They intend to catch their prey by complete surprise, but if they fail lengthy chases can ensue – although not often through convenience stores.
To see the video visit the Stirling Observer’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Top tools Saeed armed himself with a brush and box. Inset, the bird makes an entrance In a flap Saeed was alarmed by the intruding sparrowhawk
Bullet Great bit of copys