One of these(I suspect it’s a young male) has recently began to use my garden as a supermarket for his shopping. He has caught a greenfinch and another small bird in the last few days. By putting out feeders I’m partly responsible for his presence I guess but I have derived a lot of enjoyment from watching greenfinches, goldfinches blue tits etc. and I would hate to stop feeding them.
is what I’m talking about(I don’t know if Sparrowhawks are the same all over the world)
My question is how intelligent are they? The last time it caught a bird it landed under my apple tree and was scrutinising the feeders. In my imagination the Sparrowhawk was working out what the feeders were and how it could capitalise on them.
I do know that birds can be inventive

" So what are the world’s most intelligent birds? Woodpeckers rank high in the bird intelligence pecking order. As an example of their innovation, take the gila woodpecker found in the south west USA and Mexico that fashions a wooden scoop out of tree bark to carry honey home to its young. Also high in intelligence are birds of prey (e.g. hawks, eagles and falcons). Bald eagles in northern Arizona have discovered that dead minnows lay frozen under the surface of ice-covered lakes. On lakes where the ice is thin, eagles can be found chipping holes in the surface. This alone is not enough to earn them their meal however; the eagles then jump up and down on the surface of the ice, using their body weight to push the minnows up though the holes. The most intelligent bird group according to Lefebvre’s research are crows. The Japanese carrion crow exhibits a remarkable behaviour that demonstrates why this bird is at the top of the “bird brain” charts. At a university campus in Japan, carrion crows have developed a unique feeding innovation that exploits human technology. Carrion crows perch at traffic intersections and patiently wait for the red light. When the vehicles come to a stop, the crows spring into action - they fly down to the cars and place walnuts under the tyres. These crows are smart enough to have figured out that the simplest way to open a nut is to get someone else to do it for you!"

Could this Sparrowhawk have worked out how to get an easy meal?

They are definitely intelligent enough for that. I doubt it actually knows what the feeders are, but raptors certainly are smart enough to figure out where their prey are congregating.

Generally corvids (crows, ravens, and jays) are thought to be the most intelligent birds. However, some work by Irene Pepperberg with an African Gray Parrot has prompted the claim that at least some individuals may rival primates in intelligence.

According to Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds, The American Kestrel is known here also as a sparrow hawk. It looks something like the European Sparrowhawk (which may or may not have been seen on our east coast.) The kestrel has a white face with vertical black stripes. There’s one pair of stripes that looks like long sideburns, and the other is an Alice Cooper-like stripe descending from the eyes.

During one severe winter, the factory where I worked had a pair of Am kestrels living in the steel beams near the ceiling. I figure they lived on the plant’s mouse population

The “official” name as used by the American Ornithologists’ Union was changed back in the 1970s. The American Kestrel, formerly “Sparrow Hawk,” is actually a falcon and closely related to the Eurasian Kestrel. (At the same time, the falcon formerly called “Pigeon Hawk” in the US had its name changed to Merlin, and the “Duck Hawk”’ was changed to Peregrine Falcon, to conform to European usage.) The European Sparrowhawk is quite different and not closely related, being an accipiter (the “true” hawks), and is related to our Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, and Goshawk.

The Sparrowhawk I mentioned in my OP perhaps isn’t so clever after all. Looking out into my garden for the last couple of days has been a very unrewarding experience, it is bereft of songbirds. The Sparrowhawk has been too greedy and has frightened all the small birds away.
I’m hoping now he will move on and find another piece of territory.

Here is an American kestrel, a young one learning to fly in my backyard.

Your link doesn’t seem to work for me, some kind of resolution problem.

It’s a bit late now but I’m really pleased I didn’t become an Ornithologist. :slight_smile: