Watch the moment this Sparrowhawk captures his wanted prey in Royston

PUBLISHED: 09:22 19 January 2015 | UPDATED: 09:32 19 January 2015

The sparrowhawk stands proudly over his prey after attacking the collared dove

The sparrowhawk stands proudly over his prey after attacking the collared dove

David H Hatton 2015

David Hatton was about to collect his son from school when he was distracted by white feathers dropping like snow flakes past his office window in Echo Hill.

The sparrowhawk stands proudly over his prey after attacking the collared doveThe sparrowhawk stands proudly over his prey after attacking the collared dove

A second later he saw a large female Sparrowhawk land on the grass with a struggling Collared Dove in its clutches.

The birds fought ferociously, but it was a one-sided struggle and the raptor quickly subdued the dove and began to strip it of its feathers.

David said: “I have a camera bag next to my desk, so quickly grabbed the kit and, after crawling through the conservatory, positioned myself for a front-row seat and rattled off, over the next 10 minutes, more than 150 photos and some short video.

“When a dog I’m looking after joined me at my window, the Sparrowhawk flew off and left only a few morsels behind.

“With the show over, I was only slightly late for the school pick up.”

The Collared Dove has gone from being impossible to see in the UK in the early 20th Century, to first breeding in Norfolk in 1955 and is now abundant, occurring from Cornwall all the way up to Shetland.

Probably 500 or more pairs breed in the Royston area today, making them a juicy target for the bird-of-prey population and cats, especially for Sparrowhawks.

Roughly two pairs of the hawks breed each year in Royston, and they can be seen soaring over the town’s streets on a daily basis.

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