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VTBIRD  August 2016

VTBIRD August 2016

Subject:

Re: Cooper's vs. Crows

From:

Roo Slagle <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 6 Aug 2016 19:18:45 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (165 lines)

Great stories!!! We should write a book.

On Sat, Aug 6, 2016 at 4:41 PM, Jane Stein <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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.
>
> Jane
> Shoreham
>
>
> 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. There’s an ancient Golden Eagle nest
>> on a bluff very close to where we were, and the Nature Conservancy
>> guide said he’d once seen two young eagles joining in the ravens’
>> play.
>>
>> Maeve Kim Jericho Center
>>
>>
>> On Aug 6, 2016, at 2:16 PM, Jane Stein <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> 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
>>> wait.
>>>
>>> Sorry for all the anthropomorphism, but it's totally irresistible
>>> with Corvids.
>>>
>>> I've never seen Ravens "play" with hawks like this, has anybody
>>> else?
>>>
>>> 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 that’s what I observed this morning. It
>>>>> looked like an angry and aggressive encounter to my eyes, but
>>>>> the fact that the crows weren’t making their usual mobbing
>>>>> noises might have been because they weren’t actually upset.
>>>>>
>>>>> Maeve
>>>>>
>>>>> On Aug 6, 2016, at 7:14 AM, Ian A. Worley <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> 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.
>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Ian
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ---------------------------
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On 8/6/2016 6:59 AM, Maeve Kim wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> There’s a resident family of crows that visits every
>>>>>>> morning to see if
>>>>>>>
>>>>>> there’s anything new in the compost bin. I’ve 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
>>>>> distance.
>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Maeve Kim Jericho Center
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>

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