03 November 2013

A peregrine shows who is boss!

Every so often, I ask one or two members of the staff employed at the Stradey Estate (on the western outskirts of Llanelli), about any interesting wildlife that he or his collaegues may have seen. This last week, they witnessed a most peculiar event which was reported to me yesterday. A peregrine was seen to attack and kill an Accipiter hawk. This latter bird, they suggested, was a female sparrowhawk but, looking at the photograph that they kindly supplied, shows the dead hawk to have clearly orange eyes, hinting that it is a male goshawk. I would be grateful if readers can confirm or correct this latter presumption please.
The peregrine, whilst standing over the hawk - which it had killed by a peregrine-style bite to the back of neck (see photo) - was then subsequently attacked by a buzzard. Wisely perhaps, the buzzard then `backed off`. Also note the markedly swollen leg of the dead hawk - any suggestions why please?
I am grateful to Vincent Somers-Yeates for supplying the above information and also the two photographs shown below. The dead hawk is obviously shown first, then a photo of the peregrine.

4 comments:

Barry Stewart said...

Ian - fascinating tale - I must confess I'm not sure if it's a Goshawk or Sparrowhawk, but as you suggest the orange eye, along with the heavy build, wide white vent suggest Goshawk.

Barry Stewart said...

Simon from the Gower Bird Hospital wrote: 'Commonly referred to as bumble foot, usually as a result of a an injury and then secondary infection. Very painful and often ends in a slow death, so a job well done by the peregrine, as is so often the case, the old and the unfit are the focus of predatory attention!
Predators do an excellent job of removing sick and injured and in doing so paradoxically prevent suffering.'

Derek Moore said...

I would agree that the bird is almost certainly a male Goshawk. I suspect the swoolen might have affected its ability tocatch food efficiently and it was therefore more suscebitable to predation.

For once it seems a Goshawk met its match.

Derek Moore

Anonymous said...

Definitely a male Goshawk. We (South Wales Peregrine Monitoring Group) have recorded many species of raptor as prey of Peregrines within our south-central Wales study area over the past 30 years including Kestrel, Merlin, Hobby, Sparrowhawk, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl and Short-eared Owl but never a Gos. The Perry looks like a juv/imm bird, probably a female to take a Goshawk.

Colin Richards