Great story! I read/saw somewhere that although Rock Doves may look
stupid, they've exhibited the greatest cognitive ability of any bird,
including crows, researchers have tested. It one of those studies
involving pecking the right picture to get a food pellet, and the Rock
Doves quickly learned to distinguish between photographs and artwork,
and then actually between artists. If I remember right, it was
something like Picasso and Monet they ultimately tested them on. Hard
Some winters ago, I saw a little male Sharpie plunge into one of those
big balls of blackbirds in a farm field in Addison and come out the
other side with what looked like a cowbird in his claws. He took it
over to a nearby barn roof and sat down with it and pulled a couple of
feathers. The cowbird was completely splayed out, limp, head fallen
back, wings open and drooping, looked quite dead.
Then the Sharpie decided he didn't want to have his lunch with me
watching, I guess, and lifted off to go somewhere else. He must have
loosened his grip just for a second because the cowbird instantly came
to life, jerked free and dove down out of my sight. Sharpie learned a
lesson, I think. I didn't know birds would play dead to that extent.
The cowbird wasn't just still, it let itself go completely limp in the
hawk's talons and just waited for a lapse of concentration.
William Gilbert wrote:
> While watching a large flock of some 35 rock doves ground feeding a hawk
> flashed into view and took one of the suddenly fleeing Rock Doves to the
> ground. The others all disappeared to a roof top they favor.
> As the Hawk prepared to dine while standing on the pigeon and plucking
> feathers, the captive, coming back to life, broke loose and tried to escape.
> It made it into the air about 25 to 30 feet with the hawk in hot pursuit,
> when the flock appeared again and flew into the path of the two birds. In
> the confusion the hawk lost its prey.
> Sure looked like a rescue.