Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cooper's Hawk & Crow Fighter Pilots

In the park next to my son's preschool, I noticed a bit of bird excitement in a towering sycamore. A small flock of crows were in a thither. As I walked closer, I saw the source of their consternation: a perched Cooper's Hawk most likely in search of food in the form of crow fledgling. About six crows dive bombed the Cooper's Hawk in a sortie-like attack. The Cooper's Hawk flew like a jet fighter master, drop descending and and making sharp breaks and turns that easily sloughed off the more cumbersome crow.

The power of the crows was in their numbers. Although the Cooper's Hawk easily outflew them, the successive attacks kept the Cooper's Hawk on the run. But the swift hawk would often dodge a darting crow and turn his/her defense into an attack by flying closely on the tail of the crow. The crow would abort the mission and pull away from the Cooper's Hawk. The crows would team up and return to confront the tireless hawk. The avian scene played like a World War II film filled with dramatic Air Force fight scenes.

Breathtaking to the grounded observer.


  1. Yep, I get to watch that kind of action about once a month. I always root for the hawk. Crows may have many admirable traits, but they're noisy as, well, a flock of crows.

  2. This behavior is called mobbing, and I love it because I love seeing hawks and the crows always spot them before I do!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.