February 10th, 2008, 03:30 PM
hello can you help
hello - I'm a novice at bird watching and at asking q's on line so i hope i'm doing this right. I'm trying to ID a bird I saw at 5pm ish. I work at the local hospital - on leaving I passed the usual frantic sounds of the sparrows who were chattering away in the ivy growing up the wall and under the eaves of one of the hospital buildings - I know they are sparrows because I've stood and watched them coming and going and I've listened to them a number of times. From one high edge of the Ivy a large grey bird hopped out onto the roof stayed for a couple of seconds and then flew off. this is the bird I'm trying to ID. It had a grey back but a cream (rich cream) underside including chin. I know it was not a pigeon we have plenty of them in Lancashire, or a magpie or rook. It was thinner than a pigeon or a dove much more sleek. My immediate thoughts were 'its a Kestrel' but it didnt have the right markings never mind its odd behaviour, the nearest thing Ive come to in all my ID attempts so far - is sparrowhawk. I realise the answer is to keep watching for it again and do a better job of noticing its distinguishing features. I also know it was not a jay - we had a jay in our garden recently.
what do you think?
February 10th, 2008, 05:42 PM
Certainly sounds like it could be a Sparrowhawk. If the sparrows were alarmed then this is quite likely. Did you notice any talons or a bright yellow eye?
Originally Posted by novice
Here's a male Sparrowhawk and a female for comparison.
February 10th, 2008, 06:35 PM
As Joe says- sounds like a Sparrow hawk. Probably male by the colour you describe.
February 10th, 2008, 07:51 PM
Hello "Novice" (do you have a proper name?),
Agree with Joe and John that Sparrowhawk sounds very likely here.
Do you have a bird I.D. book? If not, and you are interested in birds (which it sounds as though you are) I would strongly suggest that you get one. Asking for I.D. on an internet forum is fine (we all do it) but for a beginner the best possible route is to have a good book (Collins "Bird Guide" by Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterstrom and Grant is the best by a long chalk at the moment). Searching a book such as this for a bird you have seen will TEACH you far much more than simply getting an answer on a forum such as this.
I sincerely hope that your interest in birds "blossoms and blooms" and that you will continue to post on this forum (and don't be put off because you think you know less than the experts - they were all "there" at some time!).
February 10th, 2008, 10:12 PM
thanks for your replies and the pics. looking at that picture of the male sparrowhawk it seems more likely than I thought - do you think its likely to return and might the same time of day be the best time to watch out for it?
I didn't really feel the sparrrows were alarmed but I did feel that my walking past (something which the sparrows are used to maybe as people use that path alot) had made the 'sparrowhawk' move and take flight.
I do have a bird ID book and looked at others over the weekend plus the internet. learnt alot especially re concentrating on features other than just colour, silouhette, beak shape, legs etc.
One more question - would this be the sort of behaviour you'd expect from a sparrowhawk - going into the ivy where the sparrows are roosting?
February 11th, 2008, 06:36 PM
I'v always heard of a Kestrel called a "Sparrow Hawk." In reading these discussions and by the behavior of the bird it sounds to me more like a Cooper's Hawk or a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. These birds will dive right into a bush after a bird. I have a thick, tall bush full of sparrows and last week all I saw was the tail end of a hawk dive into the bush and then quickly come out the back side. It was very exciting. Since Cooper Hawks and Sharp-Shinned are very similar in appearance it happened too fast for me to identify the bird but I am quite sure it was one of the two and probably was a Cooper's based on where I live. I haven't been birding for more than a year myself and I spend all my free time studying field guides and bird books. You don't realize how much you are actually absorbing until you see a bird for the first time and realize you can identify it because you've looked at it so often in a book.
February 11th, 2008, 07:13 PM
The chance of it being either of these two species in Lancashire, U.K., are very remote indeed (unfortunately).
Originally Posted by dadizgr8t
February 11th, 2008, 07:55 PM
Thanks for your response Colin. Didn't realize the bird in question was in the U.K., guess I'll have to broaden my world view when it comes to birding! However, I am still confused as to why the bird in the pic posted by Jyothi Ray is being called a "Sparrow Hawk"? Is this a layman's term or an official name for the bird. In the southern states we call a Kestrel a sparrow hawk and we call a Cooper's Hawk a "chicken hawk". Is the official name for this bird in Enland a Sparrow Hawk? Thanks for your help.
February 12th, 2008, 08:13 AM
Originally Posted by dadizgr8t
In the U.K. "Sparrowhawk" (one word spelt with a capital S) is the correct name for the species Accipiter nisus. Your terminology of sparrow hawk for a hawk which preys on sparrows is just laymens language.
February 12th, 2008, 07:20 PM
i agree colin that bird book is the business! dont buy anything else mines been used so often its falling to bits now