One of my favourite garden birds is the local Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus. It has made a habit of visiting our garden to see what the bird feeder (from the Little Sparrowhawk's perspective) has to offer. Elusive as it may be, it is always a great bird to see.
Whilst putting birdseed out at my birdfeeder one morning, I noticed a small raptor feeding on something in the tree above. I made a quick dash into the house to grab the camera but unfortunately the bird had moved into denser cover in the tree, effectively concealing itself whilst feeding. Eventually, I managed to get a few photos and saw that the sparrowhawk had caught a female Cape Sparrow Passer melanurus.
The unfortunate victim probably came down to feed and instead ended up as a meal herself. It was an interesting observation and it proves just how opportunistic these 'hood hunters' can be. Our garden feeder is now part of the daily foraging route of the sparrowhawk. For a species relying on the surprise element during hunting, I often wonder why it announces its arrival in the garden by calling its distinctive call. Surely its prey would then be on high alert. However, judging by the feathers I sometimes notice at the feeder, the Little Sparrowhawk's visits to our garden are often rewarded.