Documenting surprising sightings, fascinating findings, & exciting encounters, with birds, wildlife, & other nature,
around Hemel Hempstead...

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Regular visitors will have noticed a decrease in posts to the HEMEL NATURE
blog - this is because I have been living & working out of the area, & due to the job my time out
& about with nature in Hemel is limited. I am working on a new blog to come soon & hope that the work that has gone into HEMEL NATURE will prove useful & interesting to those still visiting it.

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Sunday, 17 March 2013

SPARROWHAWK eating COLLARED DOVE alive after hunting & catching it at The Nickey Line, Highfield.

This afternoon I was taking a stroll along the Nickey  near Queensway in Highfield when behind me I heard a something crashing through the branches with a clatter of wings. As I turned around, just a few metres away a SPARROWHAWK was tumbling down the bank with a COLLARED DOVE in its talons until it settled at the bottom on the footpath with a firm grip on its prey. The Sparrowhawk then proceeded to pluck & eat the Collared Dove alive whilst I sat there watching from across the path, & although I didn't have a camera with me, I managed to get some video footage on my mobile phone.

At times the Collared Dove tried to fly free even after being eaten for at least 5 minutes & I will warn that this video may be distressing for some people to watch. These clips are just snippets of about 10 amazing minutes watching this stunning bird, at times within 2 metres from me, seemingly completely unfazed by my presence, until I decided to let the Sparrowhawk continue in peace.

[Filmed on Samsung Galaxy S3 Mobile Phone with digital zoom so apologies for the low quality.]

And here are some photos I snapped with my phone at the time too...

Sparrowhawk feeding on Collared Dove at The Nickey Line near Queensway, Highfield.
[Taken with Samsung Galaxy S3 mobile phone on digital zoom.]

Sparrowhawk feeding on Collared Dove at The Nickey Line near Queensway, Highfield.
[Taken with Samsung Galaxy S3 mobile phone on digital zoom.]


  1. Cracking catch Dan!! Nature red in tooth and claw!

  2. Thanks Martin, shame I didn't have even my compact camera on me but either way it was a privilege to witness & at such close range. One of those intimate moments with nature where there is a mutual respect & trust.

  3. What a fantastic sight to witness, Dan! It's quite something when a wild creature allows you to stand and observe it like that. Glad you had the technology to be able to share it with others too! (Lucy)

  4. Definitely something I will never forget Lucy. Glad I had the means to record & share it too, I think it's great for non-birders & non-naturalists to see what amazing sights they can see so close to home, & hopefully this kind of thing can spark someones interest.


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