British wildlife recordings
Accipiter nisus : Sparrowhawk - Accipitridae
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Old Dean Common, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(488500,162500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
The calls of a sparrowhawk, recorded in Camberley, Surrey. This bird of prey can be found across the British Isles in woodland, hedgerows and even in parks and gardens. These areas are usually rich in small birds and so provide excellent hunting grounds. Considered creatures of habit, sparrowhawks will usually return to the same territory every year in order to breed, although they will make a fresh nest each time. Adults emit a harsh ‘kek kek kek’ call and can usually be seen flying overhead exposing their distinctive barred tails and long rounded wings. This species has suffered from direct and indirect persecution over the years which has led to fluctuating populations. During the 19th century, habitat loss and shooting were the major threats posed to sparrowhawks. Despite this, the species still survived albeit with significantly reduced numbers. It was in the 1950s that the sparrowhawk faced its most dangerous threat through the introduction of pesticides to farming methods. Populations were virtually wiped out in many places across the UK and it wasn’t until these chemicals were restricted years later that numbers began to slowly increase.