Lots of people feed their garden birds in Assynt and long may it continue.
This feeding helps our small birds to survive the winter and also improves their productivity during the breeding season. It is pretty certain that the increase in the number of Goldfinch, locally and nationally, is mainly down to the increase in the number of people feeding birds in their gardens.
One thing that such feeding creates is a concentration of good numbers of birds in a single location. This inevitably means that birds of prey will be attracted to the activity around feeders. Unfortunately, that occasionally means some of your garden birds will end up as food for raptors such as the Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus.
Of course it is a two edged sword – on one side you lose a bird but in return you are given an opportunity to marvel at the speed and incredible agility of what was once a bird of prey that was in serious decline due to the indiscriminate use of pesticides, more specifically DDT.
So, while it is a bit gruesome, this video from Stevan Lockhart of Clachtoll has brilliantly captured a Sparrowhawk enjoying a meal of Rock Dove Columba livia.
All simply part of the natural world which needs our protection.
Click here to view the video on YouTube