the morning mob

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.

crows mobbing Red-shouldered Hawk

At first glance, all I saw was a mob of crows.

crows mobbing Red-shouldered Hawks

Looking a little lower in the tree, it was obvious the crows were quite upset about the presence of a Red-shouldered Hawk in their territory.

crows mobbing Red-shouldered Hawks

Another hawk called from the top of a tree nearby, so perhaps this was a mated pair of hawks is investigating the backyard for nest sites.

Red-shouldered Hawk escaping a mob of crows

The crows finally chased one of the hawks out of its tree perch.

crows mobbing Red-shouldered Hawks

The pair met up briefly in another tree before the crows finally chased them both off into the wetland behind the backyard.

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.

crows mobbing Red-tailed Hawk

Crows successfully mobbed a Red-tailed Hawk in the backyard last summer as it flew overhead. Having to watch numerous small bodies coming at you is usually enough to drive a hawk away.

5 thoughts on “the morning mob

    • Me too, actually. I would rather watch hawks than crows any day, even though I know crows do exhibit very interesting behavior, especially in a group. Today, they were after an owl in the same tree — loud mouths.

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