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Wet summer meant less sparrowhawks, say Norfolk conservationists

PUBLISHED: 10:05 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:05 17 February 2017

A sparrowhawk pictured in a Norwich garden. Picture: Graham Elvin

A sparrowhawk pictured in a Norwich garden. Picture: Graham Elvin

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Sparrowhawk sightings in gardens were “well below” average this winter after a wet June hit the small birds they prey on, experts said.

The Thetford-based British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) says numbers have been “abnormally low” since last summer.

It blames the decline on wet weather in June which resulted in a poor breeding season for many smaller birds which sparrowhawks feed on, such as blue tits and great tits.

With fewer young birds around there would have been less food for them to feed their chicks, potentially leading to lower survival in young sparrowhawks.

Sparrowhawks are most frequently seen in gardens during the autumn and winter months. Claire Boothby, development officer at the trust, said: “The surprise appearance of a sparrowhawk is always a dramatic garden event and one that has been witnessed by fewer people than usual this winter.”

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