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Long-term capture-recapture of female Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus nesting in three different areas enabled age-related survival rates to be calculated, after correcting for age-related and annual variations in recapture frequency. The data provided strong evidence for an improvement in survival rates in the first 3 years of life and for a decline in the last 5–6 years, during a maximum life span of around 10 years. The decline in survival among older birds was attributed to senescence. At all ages, survival rates were higher in the English area, where breeding numbers were rapidly increasing, than in two Scottish areas, where breeding numbers were stable or declining. The precise pattern of change in survival rates with age may vary between areas, according to prevailing circumstances.