Thursday, 14 August 2014

Sparrowhawk fledglings at Titchmarsh LNR.

As you will have gathered Titchmarsh LNR in East Northamptonshire is my local patch and one that I visit on a regular basis.

Last Monday I was walking down to the reserve when I heard a call that I did not recognise, very strange, a sort of mid-range single note call ( hope that makes sense ) that I had never heard before.

I got to the entrance gate turned left and flushed three birds from the trees on the left hand side of the track, they were clearly just fledged raptors and I suspected Sparrow hawks, they  flew over the path into the trees on the right hand side, not good flyers yet or perchers with plenty of wing flapping to balance and settle down but sadly too quick and distant for any shots.

They were contact calling each other on a regular basis.

I also saw a parent bird circling high overhead.

So, I visited Xeno-Canto and located the call I was hearing.  ( block in, right click and look for reference XC95574 ).

Indeed just fledged Sparrow Hawks !. Birding is as much about your ears as your eyes if not more so.

Today I observed from a distance and just manage to get a record shot of, I am sure, one of the juveniles. Not great and at distance but you have to start somewhere.

I understand the adults will continue to feed the juveniles for another 20-25 days as they hone their flying and hunting skills, toward the end of this period food made available to the fledglings is gradually reduced encouraging independence.

A great process to witness and become involved in, from a distance..


  1. Wait until the adult starts to teach them to hunt. I watched 2 leave their nest last week, however the adult catches a bird takes it back near to the young and calls a high'ish pitch "kee" one juvenile comes near the adult drops the bird for the young to catch, if it doesn't the adult grabs it and repeats try and watch it if you can it's amazing.

  2. Douglas, you have answered a question that has been puzzling me. The fledglings at this stage have not yet reached the mid-air food passing stage so how are they currently being fed, do the adults take individual birds to each of the youngsters on their respective perches or do the youngsters congregate next to the adult to be fed as if they were still in the nest .... ?

    1. The "pre" fledging feeding I can't answer as mine were in a pine trees and almost impossible to see

  3. Thanks Douglas .... I guess I need to read up on the subject.