A family in Lichfield welcomed an unusual visitor after a sparrowhawk took up temporary residence inside their home.

The sparrowhawk in the Nicholl family’s home

The bird was trying to catch a pigeon when the chase moved into the Nicholl family’s house through an open door.

Although the pigeon escaped unharmed, the sparrowhawk decided to hang around in their kitchen for a while, where he was captured on camera by 14-year-old Oliver.

Oliver’s mother Megan said:

“The pigeon originally hid behind our coffee machine before flying out of the back door, then the hawk tried to get out the window but settled on the windowsill.

“My husband opened the window for him,  but the bird stayed for around 10 minutes before eventually flying out.

“Our small dog Henry was terrified.”

Megan Nicholl

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16 Comments

  1. I think this is a female sparrowhawk. We have one that regularly visits our back garden, they are amazing fierce birds!

  2. Yes Lichvegas, we have high hedges both sides of the garden and the female sparrowhawks (they are much larger than the males) swoop over them to ambush the pigeons. They then take their capture to a quiet place in the garden. Only a few feathers are left. Sadly they do take smaller birds too.

  3. Nature being red in tooth and claw. There can only be an increase in sparrowhawk numbers when there is an in crease in sparrow numbers.
    Raptors take far fewer garden birds than do the far greater menace, cats.

  4. I am sure there is one by me. There has been several pigeon carcasses left in my garden. I have several large trees in my garden mainly full of pigeons, ideal for a sparrowhawk.

  5. Would there be only one pair in/near Lichfield? Do any birders know if we are seeing the same birds and how big their territory is?

  6. I wonder if this is the same one that knocked itself out in my back garden a few weeks back…? It was doing just what Philip describes above and went full speed into an open patio door. I was really worried it had broken it’s neck but I just left it alone in the hope it might recover, and after 20 mins it did just that.

    North Lichfield, if that’s any use to you Prof Pineapple.

  7. Sparrowhawk Netherstowe: Witnessed catching and consuming 1 of 100’s of sparrows here. Possibly responsible for loneliness of 1 woodpigeon and 1 magpie remaining where formerly several? All blackbirds now missing also! MEJ

  8. Flying rats? Don’t think so. These brave birds saved so many lives on the Allied side while being used as carrier pigeons and sending back vitally important messages in WW1 while being under attack from enemy gunfire and other tactics to prevent them doing so!

  9. ML…. In fact three different birds as the ones in local gardens are Collard Doves. I don’t think the Sparrow Hawk has a preference though.

  10. ML, thanks for stating the obvious. The “we hate the flying rats” brigade seem to detest all pigeons whether they are homing pigeons, racing pigeons, wood pigeons or feral pigeons. Any pigeon is hated by these lot.

  11. We have both wood pigeons and collared doves in our North Lichfield garden. I am fond of the wood pigeons in particular – they are gentle, bumbling birds, living alongside us, day in and day out. @Dr Teeth I don’t understand the pigeon-hatred either – just because they are grey in colour and good at reproducing and adapting to urban environments, some people seem to think that makes them vermin. I think this says more about the people concerned than it does about the pigeons!

  12. Lichvegas – Collared doves are lovely birds, not quite so graceless as wood pigeons. They used to be regular visitors but have seen less of them over the last couple of years, sadly.
    The wood pigeons seem happy to engage in fisticuffs with each other.
    having said that, they are welcome visitors. Even though they are intent on driving up my bird food bill.
    It came as a surprise that collared doves were introduced here in the 1950s.
    https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/pigeons-and-doves/collared-dove

  13. Spotted what I think was this beauty in Netherstowe/Wissage area a couple of weeks ago. Magnificent, and probably responsible for the drop in pigeon numbers recently!

  14. For those who like birds we see many Buzzards over the city now. Often you hear their characteristic ‘mew’ call; like a cat. They also get mobbed by Crows and the aerobics are great to see. They fly at all altitudes and play the thermals with minimal wing movement. An elegant bird with a less flattening name. I have seen as many as twelve at one time. Well worth looking out for.

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