Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Harassment: Mockingbird & Red-tailed Hawk

Glancing out of the bathroom window a flurry of motion among the distant tree tops caught my attention.  Focusing my eyes upon the activity I discerned a Northern Mockingbird chasing a Red-tailed Hawk as it flew by.  A moment later the hawk landed in a tree top and I hurried for the camera. 

As I focused in on the action the Mockingbird was beginning yet another dive attack.

Firing on high-speed continuous this frame captures the mockingbird as it swooped in.

 At the last moment of the dive-bomb attack the mockingbird reverses direction while the hawk seemingly did not even blink. 

Following this attack the mockingbird lit to the left of the hawk staying there until the hawk flew away.

The quality of these images leaves much to be desired as they were taken at over 100 yards, handheld with the 100-400mm Canon lens in poor light and heavily cropped. 


Unknown said...

Coy, nice shots considering the distance. I think that was a brave Mockingbird!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Wow,what action!

Montanagirl said...

Considering how far away they were, I'd say they turned out pretty good!

Dave Cawkwell said...

The quality may not be perfect but the subject and series is. Great shots, did the mockingbird have a death wish or is this normal?

Chris said...

WoW Coy, what a dynamic set of pictures. That was probably incredible to witness! Beautiful!

Les Barr said...

Incredible shots, Coy. You were lucky to see and photograph Nature in this manner. The Hawk probably didn't really care about the "Cat Bird" giving him a hard time. The Hawk knows that he could make a meal of this crazy bird anytime.

This same thing will happen between Crows and an Owl. The Owl is a enemy of the Black Crow and they know it. Black Crows will attack and harass a Owl when-ever they get the chance. The large Black Crows are not a stupid bird, and are rather smart.

Many years ago, some friends of mine and myself had taken a stuffed Owl and placed it in a tree nearby some Crows just to see what would happen. The Crows, about 3 or 4 of them, attacked the Owl knocking it off the tree branch that we had placed it on. It was funny to watch this happen.


Mary Howell Cromer said...

Wow Coy, great job and thinking fast to get the captures which are very good by the way. It looks like a young hawk, so it had probably never encountered the very brave Mockingbrd before~

Coy Hill said...

Thanks to all for the nice comments.

Dave, this is normal mockingbird behavior. The mockingbird may have a nest nearby. Corker referred to it as a "catbird" and I would expect is because the mockingbird are frequently see harassing cats in the same way. I have also witnessed them diving on blacksnakes and driving them away as well.

Corker, I enjoyed your story very much; thanks for sharing.

Misty DawnS said...

What a great job at capturing the experience! Nature isn't always nice enough to allow us to get into position and set up the composition we want ;-) You did outstanding with the circumstances which were handed to you!

Meggie said...

I was wondering if perhaps there was a nest near by. In any case, I'd say that's a pretty brave mockingbird.