When it comes to crows, the term “murder” is usually used to describe a flock of these cunning corvids. For the first time, however, I found myself moved to use this word in its more traditional sense when I saw an American Crow taken by a larger avian predator…
The bird astride this ex-crow is a Red-tailed Hawk, presumably a very brave and hungry one. As I was sitting at my dining room table with a friend the other day, my peripheral vision picked up a fast flash of white descending on my neighbor’s lawn. Snow would be the most likely culprit around here but I sensed something more interesting and I was not disappointed.
I’ve never heard of a Red-tailed Hawk taking a crow but clearly, this big raptor was up to the task. From the moment I saw it straddling its unfortunate prey, breakfast was assured. Suffice to say, the rapidly growing congregation of distressed crow cousins was not amused…
Apparently, this hawk grew weary of being mobbed. It scoped out a more strategic picnic spot under a spruce tree and, once the kill was consummated, repaired there straightaway with its entire crow carcass.
The raucous crows couldn’t harry the hawk physically but did not let up on hectoring it, which probably explains why it soon left with its prize, leaving nary a feather behind!
You know, I’ve only seen this happen once and it shocked the heck out of me. Before then, it just hadn’t been on my radar as a possibility. I’m thrilled you saw it and got photos. Impressive!
Well, now we know why crows tend to mob Red-tailed Hawks!
Pretty cool thing to see…and nice pictures.
Thanks, guys. I should point out that all photos were taken from my front door… I never even left the house.
Makes you kind of wonder about the phrase “eating crow” doesn’t it. I mean, this bird’s certainly not admitting defeat. 😉
Wow! I think the crows (in general) probably had it coming with all the pestering they dish out to hawks. I’ve seen a similar drama play out, only the crow was in the hawk’s role, and a mockingbird was in the crow’s role.
Oh my gosh – thank you for the post! At work last week I was getting ready to leave a 2nd floor classroom when there was a loud BANG on the window behind my head. I turned around just quickly enough to catch a glimpse of a crow falling down. When I went to the window to get a better look I found out why it flew into the window. There, on the sidewalk, was a red tail hawk straddling it (and every other crow in the neighborhood was screaming!). I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw it (my students got a good look too), but I couldn’t believe it; usually the crows here are harassing the hawks.