Today started in a fairly normal way. A visit from the squirrel with two arms, a pair of pheasants and the gang of long-tailed tits. I think I counted 8 this time. Just before lunch I got a brief glimpse of a moorhen, for the first time in months. Could my little friend from last year have returned?

If all that wasn’t good enough, I’d also had a brief glimpse of some kind of raptor. We do get them from time to time. I didn’t get a good look so couldn’t identify him further, but that was about to change.

After lunch I was staring absent mindedly out of the window, when I saw the raptor again in the hedge. He flew on to the ground and I lost him in the undergrowth, but then a couple of minutes later something flew, full tilt, against the conservatory window. I just knew  it was him.

I rushed to the window in the dining room to get a better look. At first glance he was nowhere to be seen, and I breathed a sigh of relief thinking that he had flown off. Then I saw him, hanging upside down, in a potentilla bush. Seeing such a majestic bird in this situation was heartbreaking.

I peered through the glass, he was perfectly still, but I thought I could just see him breathing. Good or bad? I didn’t really know.

To cut a long story short, I watched for about 10 minutes as little by little he dealt with his situation. First he assembled his wings and feet into a more normal position and dropped to the ground. His left eye was shut, not good news if you’re a hunter.

His hearing was certainly un-affected as he reacted to a car driving by, and eventually his eye began to look more normal. The next thing troubling him was his left leg. He kept flexing it and then curling it up within his feathers. He did this several times, I was still worried as I’m sure catching prey is hard enough with 2 good legs.

Next he started to move his wings and do a little preening. My heart was in my mouth, would he be able to fly? The birds in the nearby bushes were unaware of his presence, and he was looking more alert by the minute, I held my breath.

Finally after what seemed like an age he flew off, apparently intact, but no doubt bruised and confused after his ordeal. I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I was. Whilst I was watching, willing him to get better, I got a good look at him. He was a sparrowhawk.

P.S. About 2 hours after the original incident there was another bang on the conservatory window. I went to the dining room window again, and after a few seconds saw the sparrowhawk fly out of the hedge!