By David Element
Eurasian Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus suffered a catastrophic population crash associated with the use of the insecticide DDT during the middle of the 20th century. This toxic chemical entered the food-chain and caused the eggs to be laid with exceptionally thin (and therefore fragile) shells and therefore increased their chances of being broken before they could hatch. It took many years for their numbers to recover following the DDT ban but thankfully the Sparrowhawk is once again one of the commonest British raptors although most sightings of this generally shy and often elusive species will be of the birds soaring high overhead when hunting. Fortunately there are occasional exceptions and all of the photographs in this small softcover book are of a pair living in a London Park that proved to be much more approachable than would usually have been the case, providing a rare insight into their lives.