Mar 052014
 

American Crows do not like birds of prey. When crows find a hawk or owl it is not uncommon for them to gang up on the unsuspecting raptor. Crows gather around and nosily berate the targeted bird in a effort to drive it away. This behavior is known as “mobbing” and it can create quite a ruckus. In fact, any time you hear crows making a lot of noise for an extended period of time it is likely they are engaging a bird of prey of some kind.

That is what is going on in these pictures. a small group of crows has located a Cooper’s Hawk in the willows along a suburban creek and are doing their best to ruin his day. Before long their vociferous attack attracted the attention of even more crows who couldn’t have been more pleased to join in.

Cooper's Hawk on the left.  American Crows on the right.

Cooper’s Hawk on the left. American Crows on the right.

This Cooper's Hawk is starting to become concerned.

This Cooper’s Hawk is starting to become concerned.

An aggressive crow focusing his wrath on the Cooper's Hawk below.

An aggressive crow focusing his wrath on the Cooper’s Hawk below.

More and more crows arrived on scene.

More and more crows arrived on scene.

Even though medium-sized to large raptors are fearsome predators, they are ill-equipped to deal with these kind of encounters. Mobbings like this make birds of prey very uncomfortable—you can see it in their eyes and body language. The Cooper’s Hawk in these pictures is clearly distressed. He moved around among the willow trees several times seeking relief, but in the end he had no other choice but to flee. Away he went with six American Crows in hot pursuit!

Five against one.

Five against one.

The Cooper's Hawk to a nearby tree.

The Cooper’s Hawk to a nearby tree.

This only gained him a momentary reprieve.

This only gained him a momentary reprieve.

You can see in the hawk's body language that the crows have not yet given up the chase.

You can see in the hawk’s body language that the crows have not yet given up the chase.

Surrounded!

Surrounded!

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