Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sparrowhawk Attack

It's always interesting at an exhibition to see which original painting causes the biggest stir. This year I was suprised to see that it was this one of a Sparrowhawk and Woodpecker. I painted this in Spring following an unusual sighting in my garden. I was photographing birds from a hide when I heard the garden birds alarm calling. I knew straightaway it was a Sparrowhawk attack! I looked out and to my horror saw it had my beloved woodpecker pinned to the floor. I know you shouldn't intervene but I before I knew it I'd leapt off my seat to chase this sparrowhawk away. The woodpecker was relatively unscathed apart from a few feathers plucked from its side and flew to a nearby post to recover. To the woodpecker's (and my) horror the sparrowhawk came back to see what had happened to its meal. Seeing it gone, it flew to the top of the post where the woodpecker was resting. But it hadn't spotted its victim as the Sparrowhawk's vision is mainly attuned to movement. The woodpecker flattened it's body to the post with it's beak facing upward to hide its profile. Before too long the unknowing sparrowhawk got bored and flew off. And the woodpecker went on to live another day.


  1. Robert, it's a great story and I think your painting relates it very well. Perhaps it's paintings that so obviously have a story attached which attract the most attention, even if viewers have to come up with their own interpretation.

  2. You know I think you're probably right!