Helen Macdonald has posted some new stuff--go read it. Here she is on sparrowhawks:
I mean it seriously when I say sparrowhawks are a difficulty. They are for me, anyway: they pull my moral assumptions through hoops. Painfully. It's all very well to know that nature is red and tooth and claw. It’s not difficult to feel that human morals have no place in nature. But even so, it’s not pleasant to witness a sparrowhawk eating a shrieking, live starling, piece by piece, on your patio floor. It is horrible. And it is salutory. Partly because moral conflicts are interesting. And partly for other reasons.
Terminology note: Some Americans call the kestrel (Falco sparverius) a sparrowhawk too, not to be too confusing. But it is more of an open-country bird. In behavior, the sharp-shinned hawk comes nearer, I think. (Stop acting like you know anything about raptors--Ed.)