Can sparrowhawks catch and eat wood pigeons?

Was recently in woodland photographing fungi ( when there was a bird crashing through the trees with a wood pigeon in its talons, was going so fast in among the beech trees that I could not see clearly what the bird of prey was but overall appearance was brown.
If they can consume wood pigeons then why is there not an explosion of sparrowhawks to go alongside the explosion in numbers of wood pigeons especially in urban areas. Much easier to catch than the little birds sparrowhawks normally eat as wood pigeons are slow and now abundant.

Every now and again I see the remains of a wood pigeon that something has made a meal of. I’ve assumed that the predator was a sparrowhawk. A google search finds several pages listing sparrowhawks among the predators on wood pigeons. (For some reason duckduckgo tells me what they eat rather than what eats them.)

See, for example, and

Me, too. I believe that the females are more likely to tackle one, being a bit bigger.
Recently, something’s been taking them in our garden, and eating all but the wings - so it’s probably not a cat.

Those are not wood pigeons though which are bulkier and heavier and I imagine more difficult to carry off if they were not to be consumed where they land.

However the basic point is why are sparrowhawks not increasing in numbers now that there is abundant, and slow moving, food available. Is there some other aspect of their ecology that is restricting the increase.

However coming back to Thistle’s observations, feral pigeons have been abundant for longer than wood pigeons so even more chance to adapt to feeding on those and getting bigger and producing more offspring the bigger ones of which could then feed more on pigeons and in turn become bigger and more productive.

Yes, sorry, I didn’t look past “pigeon”. I’ve now added another observation where the prey was without any doubt a Woodpigeon! See

Yes OK, I agree. Remarkable pictures as they are always too quick for me.

Surely pigeons are too big for the adults to to cart them back ti a nest full of chicks. The broods will depend on the amount of small birds in summer.

Do peregrins carry pigeons back to the nest?

I suppose it depends on the size of the bird of prey and the chicks.
A wood pigeon would be a bit large for newly hatched chicks.

A bird crashing through trees carrying a pigeon doesn’t sound like a peregrine. I’ve seen a buzzard try for a pigeon perched in a wood, but that would be slow enough for you to identify when it was carrying it away. Have you got goshawks? They are doing well apparently.

On our local town Wildlife Watch Facebook page people not increquently post photographs or film of Sparrowhawks attacking and feeding on Wood Pigeons mostly in their back gardens but sometimes in the street. The most graphic was a close-up video of a female Sparrowhawk tearing a Wood Pigeon apart on a cobbled lane - gruesome but mesmerising, particularly its eyes and talons.

Only if they have young, of course.

Can Sparrowhawks eat Wood Pigeons? YES! Just posted this on
She is literally waiting for lunch to fly in: @brightonwildlife/111523127116188121

Just posted image! Taken in Brighton.