Hawk sight­ings well be­low av­er­age

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - News -

Spar­rowhawk sight­ings in gar­dens were “well be­low” av­er­age this win­ter after a wet June hit the small birds they prey on, ex­perts said.

Spar­rowhawks are most of­ten seen in gar­dens in au­tumn and win­ter, when there are more ju­ve­niles and they fol­low birds such as blue tits which flock into gar­dens to feed.

But while Jan­uary 2016 saw the high­est av­er­age counts of the birds of prey for that time of year, their num­bers have been “ab­nor­mally low” since last sum­mer, said Bri­tish Trust for Or­nithol­ogy’s year­round Gar­den BirdWatch.

They were only seen in 8% of gar­dens mon­i­tored weekly for the scheme, well be­low av­er­age, and down from 13% of gar­dens in De­cem­ber 2015.

Claire Boothby, of Gar­den BirdWatch, said: “The sur­prise ap­pear­ance of a spar­rowhawk is al­ways a dra­matic gar­den event and one that has been wit­nessed by fewer peo­ple.”

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