Mon, 5 Feb 2007

Dogfight, except with birds

— SjG @ 10:46 am

On my walk in this morning, I was surprised to see a red-tailed hawk, fluttering low over the sports-fields of Venice High School. I do occasionally see red-tails in the area, but I didn’t think it would find much to hunt at the high school (then again, I guess there could be other birds there).

The red-tail was fluttering, riding up on thermals, swooping around, and just being generally magnificent. But before long, a single crow vectored in and started harassing it. They spun around in numerous quick dives and spins, with the hawk flipping and keeping its talons pointed crow-wards as much as possible, while the crow kept zipping around and trying to peck from behind.

After a few charges and countermeasures, the crow managing to pull a feather from the hawk, at which time the red-tail skipped all defensive maneuvers and started beating a retreat. As it headed southwest, a whole mob of crows emerged from a deodar. It didn’t look like the flock actually went after the hawk, but it was clear they were defending territory.

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One response to “Dogfight, except with birds”

  1. Simon F. says:

    S and I watched a mockingbird attacking a red-tail in Mountain View a while back. The mockingbird was dive-bombing the red-tail (which was perched on top of an electricity pylon), and actually making contact with the back of the raptor with its feet, perhaps trying to pull feathers, like the crow. After several minutes of harassment, the red-tail flew off. Persistent mocker!

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