The video above, taken yesterday at New Jersey’s Stone Harbor Point by Tom Johnson, is pretty awesome. He was simultaneously filming with two different devices so the video starts with the wide-angle view and then starts over again with the closer look. As we have already mentioned here on 10,000 Birds, Snowy Owls are in the middle of a pretty epic irruption, and they are facing all kinds of pressure, from people harassing them to crows and falcons taking exception to their presence. In this video, two Peregrine Falcons take turns dive-bombing the owl, which does not like the experience one bit. Can you blame it?
In addition to the video, Tom was kind enough to share a few photos of the individuals involved in the interaction as well. All I can say is “Wow!” By the way, you can click on any of them for a bigger version and if you want to see more of Tom’s awesome photography I would highly recommend checking out his Flickr page. Seriously, click on through and check out some amazing images.
Peregrine Falcon in flight by Tom Johnson
Peregrine Falcon dive-bombing a Snowy Owl by Tom Johnson
Snowy Owl defending itself by Tom Johnson
Snowy Owl in a defensive posture by Tom Johnson
Tom also added the following explanation of what it was that he was witnessing:
Here are some photos from Stone Harbor from the past two days. Two adult Peregrine Falcons (a male and female based on size) have been hanging out together and cooperatively ganging up on passerines and shorebirds – they have tag-teamed two different Snowy Owls in the past two days, initially flying low over the beach and then doing sharp “U”s over the owl, flying very close to the owl’s head and calling incessantly. These bouts have lasted 15-30 seconds and then the falcons take a break before trying again. Today, they drove the owl across Hereford Inlet and away from “their” stretch of beach. It was pretty amazing to watch.
That certainly sounds amazing, no? What more can a birder or photographer want? Well, I suppose they could have been Gyrfalcons…
Oh, and if that first video wasn’t enough here is a second video from today!
Many thanks to Tom for agreeing to let us at 10,000 Birds share his videos and images with our readers!
Aww, poor Snowy. Have there been many human harassment stories in your area? The first year out here, we had to report people for their behavior toward the owls … but it did get better over time.
Forgot to say … amazing images and footage! (Sorry for that omission, Tom.)
Wonderful footage. You really have to feel for the owl!