Watch: Sparrowhawk stops to find prey in back garden of Merseyside semi

Video footage captures the bird of prey stalking a pigeon.

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A homeworker in Formby was stunned to look out of his window during a screen break to see a bird of prey hunting in the back garden of his semi-detached home.

A sparrowhawk had spotted a young pigeon in the garden and sensing the chance of an easy meal had swooped down to stun the bird. But it wasn’t to be on this occassion as the man stepped in.

The video above captures the moment the sparrowhawk sat watching its prey from the top of a children’s swing, moments before the homeowner made the decision to scare it off.

“I don’t usually intervene in these types of situations as it just nature,” the 45-year-old told LiverpoolWorld. “But just a few days earlier I had spotted the fluffy head of the baby pigeon looking down at me from a nest in my tree and had then watched it try to take its first flight. So this time, I shooed the sparrowhawk away.”

A Sparrowhawk spotted hunting in a Formby garden.A Sparrowhawk spotted hunting in a Formby garden.
A Sparrowhawk spotted hunting in a Formby garden.

He added: “The pigeon was shocked and had a cut on its back, but it disappeared into the bushes and, as far as I know, lived to fight another day. The whole family has certainly flown the nest.”

Sparrowhawks are relatively small birds of prey, apadted to hunting in confined spaces like dense woodland. They are not uncommon in Formby and nearby Ainsdale Nature Reserve, which are home to sweeping pinewoods. There is even a pub in the area named after the birds - The Sparrowhawk.

The RSPB says adult male sparrowhawks have a bluish-grey back and wings and orangey-brown bars on their chest and belly. Females and young birds have brown back and wings, and brown bars underneath. Sparrowhawks have bright yellow or orangey eyes, yellow legs and talons. Females are larger than males, as with all birds of prey.

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