The Young Rangers' Club
A Club for Children interested in British Wildlife & Conservation

Woodland Hunters!
23rd June 04
We looked closely at one of the predators which hunts and nests in the woods at the Woodland Education Centre.


Sparrowhawks are Birds of Prey which hunt small songbirds such as Blue Tits and Sparrows. The female is bigger than the male and so can catch slightly larger birds, up to the size of a pigeon.

The young male (left) shows some of the many adaptations which Sparrowhawks have to help them to be successful hunters.

The strong hooked talons on the feet catch and securely hold prey birds, while the sharp, curved beak can easily rip apart its prey. They are also extremely agile fliers and can weave in and out of trees and other obstacles at great speed.

A Sparrowhawkusing a fallen tree trunkas a plucking post. We explored the woods behind the log cabin and looked for signs of the Sparrowhawks.

We found a fallen tree which the Sparrowhawks were using as a 'plucking post'. This is where they sit to pluck the feathers off their captured prey and to eat it. The tree trunk is covered in feathers and small bits of bone.

Here is a picture of one of the Sparrowhawks using the tree trunk as a plucking post (left).

Young Rangers looking at a Sparrowhawk nest which has fallen out of the tree. We saw lots of old nests which the Sparrowhawks had made in previous years and also a new one made recently which had fallen out of the tree.

The female had not made a very good job of making it. The nest had no support at the bottom and so it had fallen down along with the eggs. The female bird might have been making a nest for the first time.

Yound sparrowhawks in the nest. Inside the cabin, we looked at some of the pictures of young Sparrowhawks growing up inside a nest, taken in previous years.

These were taken with the Sparrowhawk Webcam. This was a camera placed in a nearby tree, looking into the nest.

The pictures which it took continually, were put onto the Trust's website so that people could watch the young birds growing up on the internet.

wpe31.jpg (7274 bytes) We also looked at the badger sett up behind the cabin to see if the sticks we had put across the entrances had been moved. This shows if the sett is being used or not. The sticks at one of the entrances had been moved.

It was too early and still too light to actually see any badgers, but we could go home and watch badgers on the Trust's Woodland Webcam.



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