A quiet Sunday morning reading the newspaper was interrupted with loud and raucous crow calls from the backyard. Suddenly a swarm of them appeared and landed in a neighbor’s tree, still calling, so I knew there must be a hawk or an owl out there somewhere.
Red-shouldered Hawks are forest birds, like Crows, and search out wooded areas near water for nest sites. Three (as yet unfrozen) ponds in the woods behind the backyard might look like a good spot for a nest, but not with those pesky crows around to harass them continually.
These hawks prey primarily on small rodents, but I suppose they wouldn’t pass up a nestling crow if they had a chance of success, so Crows, like other smaller birds, mount a successful defense against predation by ganging up at first sight of a predator in the area. Warning calls bring more crows into the area, and some will be daring enough to fly right at the predator, using their feet and wings to strike at them.