Highlands & Islands

Hawk knocked unconscious during bird chase

Northern wheatear and stunned sparrowhawk Image copyright @Nestfinder5978
Image caption Image courtesy of ornithologist @Nestfinder5978

A tiny bird had a lucky escape from the clutches of a hunting bird of prey at an offshore wind farm site in the North Sea on Thursday.

The Northern wheatear was being pursued by the young sparrowhawk across a boat, before the raptor crashed into a window and knocked itself out.

To add insult to injury, the wheatear landed for a moment on the stunned hawk as if doing a victory pose. It then fluttered away.

The sparrowhawk recovered after about 20 minutes.

It then went on to catch and kill another, less fortunate, bird.

Northern wheatears are a summer visitor to the UK and Ireland. They spend the winter in Africa.

The birds eat insects and larvae.

Sparrowhawks prey on a range of other types of birds.

Males can take birds up the size of a thrush. Females, which are large, are known to catch pigeons.

Image courtesy of @Nestfinder5978.