Wow, that would be quite a sight! I've never seen Ravens play catch
like that, and the thought of their doing it with a couple of young
Goldens is mind-blowing.
When I was hawkwatching regularly in Central Mass., we used to be
entertained on slow days by the interactions of the young Red-Tails and
Sharp-Shins from nests around the top of the mountain. The RTs would
kite up and sit in the wind just above our eye level, then a young
Sharpie would shoot up over it, then dive on it repeatedly, and finally
the RT would get above the Sharpie and dive hard in it and they'd both
disappear from view. A few minutes later, up would pop one, then the
other, and they'd start all over again. They played this game
endlessly. Often there were two or three RTs indulging in this game,
though I don't remember ever seeing more than one Sharpie at a time.
One day, a new person arrived, watched the birds for a while and asked
if we realized one was an immature Goshawk, which also nest on that
mountain sometimes. No, we had not, much to our chagrin. But we looked
more carefully and he was right. It was a big girl almost as large as
the male RT.
So for a couple afternoons, we had the young of three hawk species
playing diving games on each other. And then the Broadwings came
pouring through and by the time that 3 or 4-day stretch was over, the
young Gos had moved on.
Young sharpies seem to have a particular affinity for pestering
Red-Tails. Almost every time a migrating or just cruising RT came
through, it was accompanied by its own personal Sharpie, circling and
diving and making a pain in the butt of itself as the RT sailed on from
horizon to horizon.
Sharp-shins make a living by chasing and often catching smaller birds in
the air, so that practice with the relatively safe RTs, which are
nowhere near as nimble on the wing, makes sense for the youngsters. Why
the bigger hawks put up with this, I have no idea.
On 8/6/2016 2:48 PM, Maeve Kim wrote:
> One time in eastern Oregon, a group of us watched a large number of
> ravens playing: dropping sticks and feathers and catching them in
> mid-air, climbing high and then diving straight toward earth,
> tumbling and rolling together. Thereís an ancient Golden Eagle nest
> on a bluff very close to where we were, and the Nature Conservancy
> guide said heíd once seen two young eagles joining in the ravensí
> Maeve Kim Jericho Center
> On Aug 6, 2016, at 2:16 PM, Jane Stein <[log in to unmask]>
>> I've seen a gazillion interactions between hawks and crows over the
>> decades, and since the crows do it year-round, I suspect
>> (anthropomorphism warning!) it's basically entertainment for them.
>> As Maeve says, you absolutely can tell how serious the interaction
>> is by the sound the crows make. When there's a genuine threat,
>> like when they spot an owl tucked up invisibly in the top of a pine
>> (which they really fear and hate) or a hawk near a crow nest with
>> eggs or young, or if one member of the group got a little too
>> daring and got snagged by the hawk for lunch, the intensity of the
>> cawing is much greater and the calls more frantic.
>> I remember once a group of crows very aggressively pursuing a
>> Red-Tail around and around for more than an hour in a place where I
>> was birding, literally screaming at it nonstop, not diving and
>> ducking and playing like they usually do, and a fellow birder who'd
>> seen how this started pointed out the fresh remains of a crow on a
>> nearby branch.
>> Otherwise, I've noticed that with particularly a perched adult hawk
>> (mostly Red-Tails), the hawk largely ignores them and the crows
>> gradually calm down, appear to get bored, sit around on the nearby
>> branches hoping the hawk will do something interesting, and then
>> after a while wander off and go do something else. The immature
>> hawks aren't so calm and do react to the crows, and then the fun is
>> really on, especially if the hawk takes flight.
>> Similar thing in the air. The matures may scream in irritation
>> once or twice, but the young hawks often twist and turn and try to
>> grab a crow, which the crows usually easily evade. Reminds me of a
>> person being pestered by a persistent deer fly.
>> I don't *think* this has to do much with the age of the crows, but
>> it's impossible to tell for sure. But crows do tend to hang out in
>> family groups for much of the year, and I've never seen, for
>> instance, 3 or 4 go after a hawk while 1 or 2 just sit still and
>> Sorry for all the anthropomorphism, but it's totally irresistible
>> with Corvids.
>> I've never seen Ravens "play" with hawks like this, has anybody
>> Jane Shoreham
>> On 8/6/2016 7:42 AM, Roo Slagle wrote:
>>> Is it all just practice for later in life?
>>> On Sat, Aug 6, 2016 at 7:35 AM, Maeve Kim
>>> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>> How interesting! Maybe thatís what I observed this morning. It
>>>> looked like an angry and aggressive encounter to my eyes, but
>>>> the fact that the crows werenít making their usual mobbing
>>>> noises might have been because they werenít actually upset.
>>>> On Aug 6, 2016, at 7:14 AM, Ian A. Worley <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> I have seen on a few occasions a juvenile Cooper's Hawk
>>>>> hanging out with
>>>> several crows. Unlike your situation, periodically all would
>>>> rise up from the tree they were in together, with a noisy
>>>> clamor, swirling around together, and doing lots of harmless
>>>> chasing. Then they'd all return to the tree, take a break, and
>>>> after several minutes do it all over again.
>>>>> On 8/6/2016 6:59 AM, Maeve Kim wrote:
>>>>>> Thereís a resident family of crows that visits every
>>>>>> morning to see if
>>>> thereís anything new in the compost bin. Iíve become accustomed
>>>> to their many calls, but this morning things sounded different:
>>>> not the loud, angry yells of mobbing crows but short, sharp
>>>> calls over and over. I looked out the window and saw the five
>>>> crows and one lighter-colored bird. It was a large Cooper's
>>>> Hawk (presumably a female) in pitched battle with the crows.
>>>> The corvids would fly at the raptor, one, two or three of them
>>>> at once, and every time the hawk wheeled and chased - and then
>>>> came back to the tree where the battle began. This went on for
>>>> almost twenty minutes before the hawk took off with all five
>>>> crows in pursuit. I can still hear them yelling in the
>>>>>> Maeve Kim Jericho Center