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Thread: How to stop a sparrow hawk killing pheasants

  1. #1

    How to stop a sparrow hawk killing pheasants

    Pheasants, around 8-9 weeks old, still in the pen mostly, getting used as a buffet by sparrow hawk(s), killing around 3 or so a day. Now if they were to get the odd one, fair enough but this is becoming a bit much. It's only a small-ish pen on a small shoot and it soon adds up. I'm assuming it's sparrow hawks because I've seen one a few times, the dead birds have been decapitated and mostly have had maybe part of one breast eaten, which would be a substantial meal for one.

    so far I've put a few cut up feed bags on pen posts as flags, hung a few CD's to flash in the sun/wind both without success. So this evening I've left a radio on tuned to Radio 4 (enough to put anyone off I'd have thought) and sited one of those plastic eagle owls near a likely flying in location. See how that goes. anybody got any other ideas?

  2. #2
    I smell a rat ha ha

  3. #3
    I know for a fact that sparrow hawks will take partridges, but in all the years I was keepering I don't think I remember a sparrow hawk taking pheasant poults.

    If they have had the heads taken off this could well be tawny owls, they will do this when very young poults first go to roost but soon stop. Apart from the buzzards that will take pheasants at any age I suspect your problem will stop fairly soon. As far as stopping it, with laws as they are, it is almost impossible.

  4. #4
    Cover cover and more cover, try and get some brash piles in.

    Our old pen was very poorly designed and buzzards used to hammer the top end while sparrowhaks would swoop down the racks where timber had been thinned and take birds below the canopy. Not unusual to be losing 5-10 every day for a small shoot that was a lot.
    Since we have built new pens get fairly few loses (touch wood)

    Have had tawny owl problems once thou, killed a load in mid/late sept taking there heads of as the birds were roosting, almost fully grown too, if it was a tawny (and heads off sounds like 1) u would be finding them all 1st thing in morning

    Possibly string some baler twine along any wide open places and hang cd's or i find kiddies windmills work well spin easily in the wind.
    U might finfd now hawk has found the pen and targeting it hard to scare off, cd's etc will prob work better to stop birds finding pen in first place

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by old keeper View Post
    If they have had the heads taken off this could well be tawny owls,
    That was my first thought.

  6. #6
    May be a sparrow hawk have had them kill in the pens a few times,you say killing three or so a day, if it is a sparrow hawk then if its taking three a day its probably feeding young, if it is a sparrow hawk you should see a white line
    almost like a brush stroke at the kill , they eject crap when they make a kill in a straight line usually pure white and a foot to eighteen inches long.

    If you are only finding kills in the morning its probably a tawny owl they can do more damage in a release pen than
    a sparrow hawk, not much you can do legally hanging old CDs on strings from the posts can help a bit, also too late for this year but not having your fence line to straight also helps as they often sit on a post and strike at poults along the fence line easier for them if the fence is dead straight, your eagle owl might help I have also seen a couple of large eyes painted on a white feed sack, when set on a post looked remarkably like a large owl, the chap that I saw do it swore that it worked he had several stuck on posts throughout his pens.

  7. #7
    spars will kill younger poults without a thought it can get worse when they bring fledged young and show them how to hunt !!!!!!!!!!! , cd.s revolving bird scarers ,twines strings, tinsel, i have used them all sometimes it works sometimes not
    don't always assume its a native species either i had something that looked like a redtail with jesses on smacking poults in a pen one year
    a barony original

  8. #8
    With the restritions now days you have to allow for losses of this nature when working out your figures

    you are doing as much as you can , what ever you do dont be tempted to take a pot shot how ever much damage they do they just arnt worth it
    Official Sponsor to Team GB F Class

  9. #9
    It gets worse each year with predators increasing.
    you have done as much as you can, try a human scarecrow.
    visit as often as possible.
    sparrow hawks, owls,buzzards,badgers , foxes,mink, feral cats, stray dogs, idiots with air rifles
    (yes and a stray goshawk)
    all start to erode your numbers.

    You will see the buzzards circling over the pen and hear the sparrowhawks calling from nearby

    If you put 100 birds in a pen and are losing 4 birds a day over 30 days this equals zero birds. (-20?)

    You always need 200 plus birds in a pen to make up for these losses
    (if you want to get a 30% +return)

  10. #10
    I had the same trouble a couple years ago. On the highest parts of your release pen fence, get some of the windmills that kids play with/put in the garden. Staple them to the fence and they move and glint in the wind that solved all my problems they don't like things like that even hanging a small mirror from fishing gut is enough to scare them off I recommended this to a few people that had some trouble and touch wood it stopped their birds being killed.
    Brash will stop them to an extent but I watched one yesterday kill a pigeon and the sparrow hawk just ran along the ground after it had the pigeon

    hope this helps


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