Four of the five young
sparrowhawks waiting for their mother to return with food.
The plumage is just beginning to appear through their downy coat
The Sparrowhawk Webcam for summer 2002 was a great
success. The webcam was set up just a few metres from a sparrowhawk nest, situated
16 metres up a Douglas fir tree at the Woodland Education Centre in East Devon,
England. Visitors to the Trust's webcam page followed the action in the nest live
starting in late June.
At this time, the five young sparrowhawks were
covered in down and sat close to each other in the centre of the nest. The female
was seen to return frequently with food for the rapidly growing youngsters. She
would break off small pieces of meat from the dead song birds she and her mate had caught
and feed the morsels to each eager youngster with an open beak. During a spell of
very wet weather, the adult female was seen to sit over her chicks in an effort to keep
them dry and warm.
The adult female attempts to shelter some of her youngsters
during a spell of very heavy rain
With an apparently plentiful food
supply, the chicks developed rapidly and were soon competing for space in the nest.
Each bird grew at a similar rate and soon developed feathers starting with those on the
wings and tail.
The adult female continued to bring food to the
nest, but it was left for the young birds to pick over for themselves. By the end of
the second week in July, the young birds were almost fully grown and moving out from the
nest onto adjacent branches. They were flapping their wings to exercise their flight
muscles. A rapidly growing pile of dead song bird remains attracted many flies to
the nest, to the obvious annoyance of the sparrowhawks!
The young birds spread out from the nest on to the adjacent
giving them more space to exercise their wings
The female continued to bring food to the nest, but
webcam views of the young birds became less frequent as they spent more time on adjacent
This image taken from the
Trust's webcam shows a young sparrowhawk
almost fully grown with the remains of a dead song bird in its talons.
The adult female was still returning to the nest with food for its
five young and they would pick over the carcasses with their sharp beaks
By late July the young birds had
left the nest and could be seen flying around the nest site whilst uttering sharp
Some of the best images from the webcam were
captured and are displayed in chronological order in an
The Trust acknowledges
the support of Offwell Environment Link for donating additional equipment for the 2002