Spar Attraction

Please meet a new addition to the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary raptor collection- a male Sparrowhawk, for whom we have yet to find a name.

The MUSKET (for that is the correct way to refer to a male Sparrowhawk) came to us in a rather unusual way. 

He was brought into us with a large and slightly infected wound to his right wing. As you might know, the name Sparrowhawk implies that this particular species of raptor feeds primarily on sparrows and other small woodland birds, so his ability to catch prey in flight and sso urvive would have been severely compromised with such a level of wing damage.  


But the unusual thing about this particular bird was that it appeared to be completely tame - we would normally expect a wild bird like this to be highly nervous, agitated, and petrified of people. (If not handled carefully, it is not uncommon for human intervention - albeit well-meaning - to put birds of this type under so much stress that they can die of shock!)

However, this fellow seemed to be very comfortable as our falconers examined him and not in the slightest bit bothered by the attention he received.  

The most likely explanation behind his injury was that he is a captive escapee and as such, had severely struggled to fend for itself himself the wild and damaged himself in the process. When we took it to our specialist raptor vet to get the wing injury treated, he also concluded that this is undoubtedly NOT a wild bird.


As captive bred raptors have very poor natural instincts, principally because they are constantly fed by humans from the day they hatch, to hack this young man back to wild would probably result in its demise. He will have no real perception of what his natural prey should be, neither any understanding of the natural predators that would want to prey on him.


True, eventually hunger will force a raptor to try and hunt for itself but their success rate is invariably low.  More often than not, escapees like this one become injured because they are unaware of the many things that can cause them harm in the wild. 


So, for the time being at least, this little Musket will remain in our charge. Whether he regains full use of his wing remains to be seen but as he is one of our native species and due to his incredibly tame nature, we are seeking the right clearances to house him on display at the Sanctuary so that all may appreciate this bright-eyed raptor at close quarters.