Friday, 30 March 2007

Food chain

The kind of bird that would dispatch a water vole no bother. Luckily this sparrowhawk was in my back garden, not the supermarket car park. An urban setting can be good for voles because it cuts down the number of predators.
I include the middle photo because it shows clearly the hind feet that make the distinctive starry prints. (Click for a larger view.)


Dave said...

Depending on time of day you get a different set of talons and teeth coming out to play. I think owls, unfortunately for the vole, have quite a taste for the little mammals.

I’d recommend any readers to go along to a falconry centre and see what does what damage. Sometimes they’ll get you to close your eyes and then they’ll fly an owl an inch or two over your head. You hear and feel, nothing not even a whisper of air, so they’re pretty effective at taking small mammals in the wild.

I’m sure the voles by the bridge are quite safe though. Owls tend to be quite shy of human company and aren’t well known for shopping at Tescos.

Kate said...

Unforunately water voles are a tasty snack for all kinds of animals - someone once described them as 'the fast food of the river bank'. But you're right, you wouldn't get much raptor activity round the car park - which is why it's such an important habitat.

The sparrowhawk's been again while I was out: three pigeons in two days!