Nests and eggs

Nesting behaviour

Nest with eggs.  Photo Mike Thornton

Female brooding chicks.  Photo Ian Todd
  • Nests:
    Sparrowhawks need trees to nest in. There are plenty of trees in Edinburgh for them to find good places to build their nests. Sparrowhawks build their nests in the lower canopy of trees close to the tree trunk where it is difficult to see them. They build a platform of twigs which is quite strong and then line the inside of the nest with bark chips. They form a nest cup which usually holds between three to six eggs. Sometimes Sparrowhawks will use the old nests of birds like Woodpigeons which they adapt to make comfortable for themselves.
  • Eggs:
    Eggs are laid in May. Sparrowhawks usually lay between three and six eggs and the eggs usually hatch in June. The chicks don't all hatch at the same time, so they are all different sizes. This is so that if there is not enough food to feed all of the chicks the youngest ones won't survive which increases the chances of the larger and stronger chicks surviving. The chicks are covered in white down and their eyes are partly open when they hatch.