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Birds of prey, a common sight in gardens?
Mum! There’s a dead bird in the garden’

This isn’t so unusual; every so often some poor bird flies into the window, stumbles around dazed for a few moments, then continues on its way. Only occasionally does the bird not make it.

Samantha wasn’t brave enough to go out and look properly, so I did. The bird was definitely dead, not dazed. And not only that, it was headless.

Trying desperately to think how a headless pigeon could be in our garden - surely our dog isn’t that fast or ferocious - I placed a bucket over it and went back inside. I wanted Colin to see it and then check the dog over for feathers! A few moments later, when I was back in the kitchen, another bird landed on our fence. This was not a pigeon, blackbird, or anything I usually see in the garden. This was obviously a bird of prey - although quite small - and not happy. It had dropped its supper, was looking for it and I had hidden it under a bucket. It sat there for a few moments then flew off in disgust.

I went back out, removed the bucket and then Sam and I sat quietly by the back door, camera in hand, waiting. After about 7 or 8 minutes the bird landed on the lawn and then on to the dead pigeon. It sat there for a moment or two looking very pleased with itself, then took off taking the pigeon with it, as if the poor thing weighed nothing at all.

Is this normal for Barrow? I see kestrels quite often flying over the fields, but have never seen anything quite like this so close. We kept a look out for it and it came back, just the once, to check it hadn’t left anything and then flew off.

Is it a sparrow hawk? Where does it live? How does it kill a pigeon that size? All questions we would love to know the answer to.

Linda and Samantha Vesty