Desperate to avoid the hawk-eyed gaze of his enemy, the woodpecker clings to a fence post, absolutely motionless.
The smaller bird has already had one rather too close encounter with the claws of the sparrowhawk, and now just one involuntary flutter of a wing would be enough to give the game away and turn him into dinner.
Astonishingly, however, while the predator perched on the post swivelling its head from side to side, it never looked down.
And after more than a minute of failing to spot its prey, it lost interest and flew off.
The drama was caught on film by wildlife photographer Robert Fuller in his garden at Thixendale, near York.
He had seen the sparrowhawk with the woodpecker in its claws and waved his arm to frighten off the bird of prey. That allowed the woodpecker to fly to the sanctuary of the fence post, but ten minutes later the sparrowhawk returned.
Mr Fuller, 37, said: 'It landed on top of the very post where the woodpecker was.
'I know that sparrowhawks hunt by movement so as long as the woodpecker remained absolutely still he would be safe.
'In the end the sparrowhawk moved off and the woodpecker lived to see another day.'