There are some fantastic places in Norfolk to go and see a wide variety of birds, both common and rare.

Pensthorpe and Fairhaven Woodland Water Gardens, for example, are a couple of places that spring to mind, as well as the RSPB nature reserves, Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserves such as Cley Marshes, and the Hawk and Owl Trust’s Sculthorpe Moor, to name a few.

We go to these places because we know they are sanctuaries that have perfect conditions for wildlife, and, of course it increases the chances of seeing some majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Living in Norwich City suburbia, I wouldn’t really expect to see birds of prey this close to Norwich, though I know there are Peregrine Falcons nesting at the Cathedral (see or webcams page for the live stream link). On occasion I might spot something in the sky and think “ooh, could that be a kestrel?’ and then quickly conclude it’s probably just a magpie or something not very exciting.

Now, in my garden I do get a reasonable mixture of feathered friends. Amongst the visitors are variety of tits and finches, robins, blackbirds, magpies, jays. crows, song thrush (known as a throstle to some), sparrows and starlings. They all occasionally pop in to hunt for worms, watch me gardening, pinch a few berries before perching on the TV aerial, y’know, usual bird activities. The most common visitor is the wood pigeon. They coo-coo first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Not my favourite bird, especially as the poop everywhere.

On a very rainy day, the pigeons seemed a bit quieter than normal. Perhaps it was because their numbers were one lighter. I was in the kitchen pouring myself a glass of water when I noticed something out in the middle of my lawn. I rubbed my bleary eyes and realised that a pigeon was lying on the lawn, surrounded by an array of feathers. And something was on top of him! A BIRD OF PREY!

Excitedly I set off to find my camera, knowing one sudden move could  startle it. Carefully I zoomed in on the target and SNAP. A lovely picture of…………..a blurry window (exhibit 1, below).

Sparrowhawk in Norwich

Rain streaked down the windows so I knew it was going to be hard to capture the shot. Nonetheless I persevered. Hope a rapid series of shots might help. It didn’t. The shots were better, but still a bit blurry. Still, they served their purpose as I wanted to show the kids (the sparrowhawk, not the dead pigeon!).

Okay, before we go any further, I guess I’d better warn you. The pictures might be considered a bit graphic. Feathers everywhere, innards being pulled out etc. So, if you’re not keen on seeing the inners of a dead bird then you might want to look away.

Right – I did say feathers, and it’s a bit like a the aftermath of a pillow fight scene from an old children’s TV program! There’s the victim between the sparrowhawk’s talons.

Sparrowhawk in Norwich

No more description from me. Just nature taking place.

Sparrowhawk in Norwich

Sparrowhawk in Norwich


Sparrowhawk in Norwich

Sparrowhawk in Norwich

Sparrowhawk in Norwich

Sparrowhawk in Norwich

Wow. I really couldn’t tear myself away from watching. You might’ve noticed the last couple of shots are a bit clearer. Well, I went upstairs, slowly approached a window, slowly opened it and snapped a few more pictures. It’s a shame I didn’t get a photo of it flying away, but as it did I just admired its impressive wingspan.

UPDATE – It continued to rain heavy, so I didn’t go outside to move the pigeon. We’ve had foxes in the garden before so I figured a fox might well finish it off. Anyway, the next morning the kids alerted me to the fact we had a sparrowhawk in the garden once more. We watched as the sparrowhawk circled the dead pigeon, jumped on it, clutched it in strong talons and flew away with it over the neighbouring gardens.

Where to Next?

Here’s a few more articles of interest and things for you to do to keep you occupied.

Explore Norfolk’s animal and nature attractions in Norfolk, including nature reserves.

If you enjoy walks around Norfolk then check out some more of our articles on our Norfolk walks around the county (and just over the county border too) or browse the rest of our articles.

Find things to do or somewhere to stay in Greater Norwich.

Why not check out our Norfolk quizzes and games.

Check out the NorfolkPlaces’ Directory:

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