You may have heard the expression “cat among the pigeons”.
Last week I experienced a similar situation but involving a Sparrow Hawk.
Whilst strolling across open farmland around Croagh Bay on the west coast of Ireland, I heard the alarm calls of several bird species including starlings and blackbirds.
That’s when I saw the culprit – a Sparrow Hawk!
The hawk was cruising just centimeters over the dry, stone walls and bramble-infested hedgerows with the intention of “flushing out” small birds for its lunchtime meal. It all happened very quickly but occasionally the hawk would find a perch and pause for a few minutes rest. Then the performance would be repeated, and I must have watched 4 or 5 performances in total!
The whole time the blackbirds and starlings in an airborne group continued to “mock” the hawk. I guess their thinking was that “there’s safety in numbers”.
In the end the hawk decided to rest in a tall, ash tree, and that’s when things got really lively. As soon as the hawk perched in the tree, there was an explosion of feathers as half a dozen wood pigeon took to the air.
I had previously noted that this particular tree was a favorite roost for the pigeons and wasn’t surprised to see them.
Luckily the hawk scared them in my direction, so I was able to capture some flight shots. Normally when I’m the one disturbing them by walking by, they tend to fly in the other direction and then you only get the “rear” view!
Link to more Wood Pigeon images