Nature that’s a little too red in tooth and claw

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From: Elisabeth Baker, Broomhill Crescent, Leeds.

FOR some years we have been gardening for wildlife, with berry-laden bushes, nest boxes and natural spaces for birds and animals.

I have also been buying wild bird seed by the sackful and 
there are a number of different feeders around our urban 
garden.

However, our delight in 
our avian family has been shattered in the last few 
weeks with the arrival of a sparrowhawk.

It has taken a number 
of birds, sometimes 
spending most of the day devouring the larger ones 
and leaving us to clear up the mess.

It is most distressing to open the curtains in the morning or to arrive home to find evidence of yet another “murder”, and even more so actually to see them being taken.

It was bad enough when 
the local feline was the only 
guilty party but at this rate there will be no birds left for me to 
feed.

As it is, I have had to stop leaving food in many of the previously well-used areas.

There are those who say that we should be pleased, as the hawk’s presence indicates a healthy bird population hereabouts. But at this rate it won’t be healthy for long.

As a household of lovers of 
birds (other than raptors!) we 
find the current state of 
affairs most upsetting and pleasure in the garden is evaporating.

We know that this is “nature red in tooth and claw”, but 
as non-carnivores ourselves, 
we’d really prefer not to 
have to be an unwitting part 
of it!