Sparrow Hawks are occasional visitors to our Constantia gardens, where they prey on birds, especially rock pigeons and doves.
Ever noticed the birds at your feeding station keeping their heads neurotically tilted, with a wary eye turned skywards? It’s because they don’t want to be lunch.
Recently, Saskia Taylor, a member of the Constantia Valley Garden Club, was lucky enough to be shown a Black Sparrow Hawk chick. Saskia writes:
“Last week a friend took my husband and me to see the black sparrow hawk’s nest on the Rathfelder Greenbelt. What a wonderful sight to see the adult sitting proudly on a bare branch watching over her chick in the nest.”
The birds are carefully monitored, weighed, ringed and measured, as part of a Black Sparrow Hawk research project in the Cape Peninsula, overseen by Ann Koeslag.
“Keep an eye out for the birds in the Constantia area. There are quite a few pairs about and when walking on the greenbelts, take a moment to look up. You never know what you might see.”
Saskia adds: “In a neighbouring pine tree there is also a pair of spotted eagle owls. They have a nest there and chicks have been spotted [pardon the pun]. One owl is easily recognizable, as he has an eye injury and the one eye is completely closed.”
To learn more about Ann Koeslag’s work with raptors visit these links:
Photo credit: Mary Nicholson and Ann Koeslag.
Story: Saskia Taylor.