Hawk warning after bird attack in pensioner’s garden

A hawk similar to the one spotting.
A hawk similar to the one spotting.

A PENSIONER has sent out a pet safety warning after a hawk swooped into his garden and killed a pigeon before flying off with its body.

Will Semple had put out some feed for the pigeon on Tuesday afternoon when the creature launched its vicious attack before ‘facing up’ to him.

Will Semple, 79, is warning people about the danger of a hawk on the loose, after witnessing it killing a pigeon in his garden in Peterlee.

Will Semple, 79, is warning people about the danger of a hawk on the loose, after witnessing it killing a pigeon in his garden in Peterlee.

The 79-year-old says the 18-inch high hawk screeched in his face before picking up the remains of the bird and flying away.

Mr Semple, of Layburn Place, Peterlee, believes the winged assailant was a buzzard hawk.

He says it had a ring on its left leg, so may have escaped from its owners.

He said: “The huge hawk just flew over and killed the pigeon.

“It was distressing to have to watch.

“It was distressing to have to watch.

“It then faced up to me and screeched before picking up the pigeon with the greatest of ease and flying away.

“There were pigeon feathers left all over the garden.

“It was about 18 inches tall and I believe it was a buzzard hawk.

“It was grey and black and quite a stocky build.

“You don’t see anything of its type here.

“It had a ring on its left leg so it may have escaped from wherever it is kept.”

Mr Semple say he spoke out over the shock incident to warn others.

He added: “I wanted to warn other people who may keep pets in their gardens about this.”

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds say that the buzzard hawk is the most common bird of prey in the UK.

It is quite large with broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail.

They vary in colour from all dark brown to much paler variations, all have dark wingtips and a finely barred tail.

They eat small mammals, birds and carrion, and even earthworms and large insects when other prey is in short supply.