Red-tailed Hawk Attacked by Crows

by Larry on January 11, 2008

Crow Attacking Red-tailed Hawk

Crow Attacking Red-tailed Hawk photos by Cleve Nash

Back on October 15th this year I wrote a post titled “Why are birds of prey harassed or mobbed”. You can read it here: Birds of Prey Harassed. Well, I recently came upon a photo story of a Red-tailed Hawk being attacked by a crow and I wanted to share these great photos by Cleve Nash.

Red-tailed Hawk on perch

Here is a shot of the hawk just before the crow began its attack. The rest of the photo record follows. The top photo was the next picture in the series following this photo of the hawk by himslf. Then the attack began.

Crow Attacking Red-tailed Hawk

and then another pass

Crow Attacks red-tailed Hawk

the mischievous crows are relentless

Crow Attacks Red-tailed Hawk

According to Cleve this Red Tail perched in that tree for about an hour despite repeated attacks by two crows. They are amazingly resilient aren’t they, the hawks I mean.

Crow Attacking Red-tailed Hawk

Notice the hawk’s nictating membrane covering its eye to protect it as the crow approaches very close (also in the top photo), then in the last photo it is retracted after the crow passes by.

Crow Attacks Red-tailed Hawk

According to Bill Dove one of the members on Raptor Watch, “what effects which birds mob which raptors are the flight skills of the raptor.”

“Buteos are like bombers and therefore don’t have great maneuverability in the sky. Generally falcons also don’t possess great maneuverability in the air except twisting and diving (stoop). Neither genus can go up quickly (except the falcon after a stoop).

The true hawks (accipiters) are the exception. You won’t see passerines or Corvids mobbing them.”

My thanks again to Cleve Nash for this story and his great photos!  You can see more of Cleve’s work at his website: Cleve’s Photography and Videography

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