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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

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A few days ago a bird like this made a kill on my patio; (what a mess it made; feathers everywhere!) It had already eaten half the pigeon when I spotted it by chance as I was passing a window. I moved (very slowly) away to get my camera but, unfortunately, the creature spotted me when I got back (looked me in the eye) and was off. However, I had had a most amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience, if only so brief. The words "peregrine falcon" had sprung into my head at the very first, and I looked that bird up in a very good book which I have. The picture of a juvenile matched what I had seen exactly (it is tinged with beige underneath and has "streaks" whereas the adult has a white ground is is "barred"). I expect yours is the very same Falcon I saw.

Think Alexander may well be right! See this site for London Peregrines; http://london-peregrine-partnership.org.uk/gallery.html
Noticing quite a few pigeon kills this year. They pick them clean :)

"They pick them clean" <- excellent! Hopefully they don't get a taste for Zams.

This bird looks like a female Sparrowhawk. Alexander may have seen a Peregrine (they commonly take pigeons) but a Peregrine would never perch in a tree. They go for tall buildings, locally they have been seen to land on Alexandra Palace, the Skyline Tower, the Castle Climbing Centre, and St Mary's Church, Stoke Newington. Sparrowhawks are more common around here, I see them a few times a week, most commonly around Stoke Newington Reservoirs. A pair nest in Abney Park every year.  

Here are 2 Sparrowhawk pictures I've taken this year, youngsters in Abney Park and an adult female on the New River:

Yes Chris, I think you're right. So it must have been a sparrowhawk I saw. I've been on the BBC nature site and they say it's the eyes which are the real giveaway. The peregrine has dark eyes whereas, from what I remember, the bird I saw had yellow.

To Dave: It certainly was in the process of picking the carcass clean; the pigeon's skeleton was all that was left on one side.

Thanks for the fab replies it's amazing to know these birds are around ! Chris those are awesome photos. And I'd love any tips on how to see sparrowhawks more often. Do you walk by the reservoirs at a particular time of day ? Or do you just see them because you know what to look for and where ?

No particular time of day, listen for the times when tits/finches start alarm calling and diving for cover, or the times when the corvids (usually carrion crows and magpies, sometimes jays) start squawking to mobilise troops for chasing off an enemy. Then look up. 

Thanks that's helpful. I have a sparrow colony in my garden so in theory I should get a few visits !

This is a sparrowhawk in my Cambridge garden in 2007 and, like yours, eating a pidgeon.

Fairly sure I saw a sparrowhawk in our garden in the Gardens yesterday- only managed a rubbish photograph. Any other sightings?

Had a similar doubletake in same area recently (perched in a tree), but didn't get a good view.

Maybe it's the same bird you saw, linka. Photo makes it look more like a pigeon, though it definitely wasn't!



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