Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sparrowhawk or Goshawk

Saw this bird sweep in across the river Hodder and dive to grab a rook (in a group, all standing, in an open field) All the rooks flew up with a big racket and chased the predator who flew into a lone tree in the field) We watched from the rear patio of the Inn at Whitewell, Forest of Bowland.
Easily spotted bird in the tree and one of the photos is not even cropped. We think it is a goshawk (could be female sparrowhawk BUT really try and look at the feet and the big pantaloons- spoken like a real birder there)
C'mon Goshawk in Whitewell valley? Totally possibly. Would a female sphk swoop out of a woodland across a river and open field on chance of nabbing one rook out of a sitting flock? Unless she had young (too early) this seems a bit of a gamble doncha think?
Sorry pics are not great but comments welcome.


  1. def a goshawk. too broad for a sparrowhawk.

    1. Thanks. That's so cool. I didn't think a fem Sphk would risk going in to a whole group (about 15) rooks. As it was this Goshawk was chased off and landed in the tree.
      It eventually flew off and was soaring about over the hodder until it went out of view behind Inn.

  2. Sorry

    this is a sparrowhawk. No age of goshawk has the barring on the flight feathers heavier than that on the underwing coverts and the 'hand' and 'arm' of the wing being about same size = sprwk too. Spwks fems can take birds much bigger than themselves woodpigeon being normal but even female pheasant has been recorded. Corvids would not usually chase off a goshawk but quite normally do so with sprwks. At this time of year sparrowhawks fluff out their ;pantaloons' exactly same as gos. feet are big on sprwks for size of bird - it's thickness of legs that count but that's relative.

  3. Craig Hurst Green27 April 2012 at 15:59

    I also believe this to be a Sparrowhawk, after examining the photo's and my trusty bird book, agree with last comment, also i would say that the prominent eyebrow resembles the Sparrowhawk more than the Goshawk.

  4. Thanks everyone. My sister is currently working with one of the country's leader sp/go hawk specialists and he too agrees that it is a female sphk! :-( Haaa well! Still a magnificent hawk and I for one am always pleased to see 'em. (Must admit she was a big girl this one!)