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The Sparrowhawk(Spioróg) 50p

Barn OwlThe sparrow hawk is one of the most popular birds of prey in Ireland.The wings are short and rounded so it can fly fast. It has a long tail

The male Sparrowhawk is blue-grey above and reddish brown underneath.

The female is grey-brown above and whitish underneath. Both are heavily barred underneath.

The female sparrow hawk is about twice the size of the male.It lives in wooden areas where it hunts and nests. It nests usually in old crows or pigeons nest. Their nests are to be found in evergreen trees on the outskirts of the woods, where there is plenty of cover. It preys mostly on small birds such as sparrows, blackbirds and finches but can take up to the size of a wood pigeon when feeding its young in the nest.

It lays about five to six brownish eggs around June to July. The survival of the young birds depends on the availability of good food in the first few weeks of life. Young sparrow hawks stay with their parents until around September when they can hunt for themselves.

The male hawk is known as a musket. It hunts by flying very low along ditches and round sides of hillsides sneaking up on their prey and taking them by surprise. Over recent years the numbers have gone down but efforts are being made to conserve their numbers.

They breed all over Ireland in suitable places.

It is often shot and trapped in some parts of the country.It is found along the edges of woodlandsIt would be a pity to see them disappear from the land. I have never seen a real one.

The stamp was issued in Phase 3 on April 2nd. 1998.

Written by --: Lee Whitehouse

             Click on the stamp to hear the sound of the bird