14 thoughts on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind

      1. right – too small to be a peregrine
        It seems you have to install a double protection on your front aviary.

  1. O dear, not so fine company at your place, Huw. I see that your birds stayed wisely in the birdhouse.

  2. I always thought that the hen sparrowhawk was more brown on the back rather than grey – on that basis I would have said that it was a cock bird. I have had them take birds through the wire on my aviary and eat them.

  3. ……once ‘you’ are on their ‘Beat’ you can almost set your clock by them…….time to invest in that Heron/Gull netting from Ebay I’m afraid.
    I would say probably male by ‘slate’ grey back. They tend to be more confident in my experience, but either sex has little ‘respect’ for, if not actual fear of people beyond doing another circuit until they know you have gone. It will be flying into the Bird room behind you when you open the door before you know what’s what.

    Grow some Vine up the net for a win-win !

  4. Huw, the main difference between male and female “sperwers” is their overall size. The larger your bird the more likely she’s a hen.
    Nigel is wright, you can sometimes put your clock on them. Her only chance is making your lizards panic. But … one thing you can be sure of: she won’t take a minor bird, it will be your champion. A perfect juge.
    I don’t know of english birds but this time of the year they tend in belgium to follow the snowline north (or little migrating finches ??)
    Mvg Gust

  5. I’m not convinced that it is a female – the colour is all wrong. However I am convinced that it will become a problem – if nothing else it will scare your birds and at worst it will either kill or cause injury.

  6. A compremise out of Brussels,

    on my computerscreen i measure the metal heron from beak to tip of headfeathers: 13 cm
    putting it (sex undefined) a bit more upright: 16 cm on my screen.

    Literature states that a hen can reached 38 cm, a cock merely gets 28cm.

    So if Huw is willing to profide us with a picture of a ruler next to the head of the heron, taken with a clear filter, we will settle for:
    hen: 38 times 13, divided by 16 gives 30.9 cm
    cock: 28 times 13, divided by 16 gives 22.75cm (length of the heron head)

    Plan B:
    as i heard it came back, maybe Huw can catch it. When he shakes it next to his left ear and he hears bells ringing it’s a male.

    mvg Gust

  7. Size is a factor but in mature birds and the cock is smaller than the hen. However the colour of the birds back is also a major item as the links Nigel posted show quite clearly . I am not convinced that Huw needs to do any measurements and I don’t think Nigel need worry about laying any eggs…

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