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bear by san

March 2017



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wicked fairy bowie

early to bed and early to rise makes a man or woman miss out on the night... life

A bird I am tentatively identifying as a Northern harrier (hen harrier, for those of you across the puddle; aka marsh hawk)  has moved into the neighborhood. I see her every couple of days--twice today--and about half the time the crows are giving her a terrible time.

It makes me wonder if the smaller gray bird we've been seeing and thinking might be a peregrine is the male.

By the way, if you want to know what a crawling discorporate amorphous fantasyland evil looks like? It's the shadows of a crow and a harrier fighting, twisting across the trees.


Magpies, she said, gloomily. They are in all Evils.
I loved the magpies in Englandland. Alas, we have none here.

(I saw a merlin in Canterbury and a magpie in Stratford. I took it for an omen.)

Edited at 2011-05-13 03:54 pm (UTC)
The local magpie is looking extremely harried now the mistle thrushes are back in the garden. Their rattling calls as they chase it out of the garden actually woke me up through double-glazing the other day.
I think crows will take on anything. I regularly see them harassing the buzzards near the house and the other day I watched a single crow and a red kite performing an aerial dog fight. The crow was winning. And when I lived in Aberystwyth, the crows and seagulls engaged in open warfare.

That was a really good fantasy conflict: black versus white. :)
As long as they stay above and behind the raptor, they're pretty safe. All the weaponry on those things points down and to the front.

First rule of dogfighting, really. Get in the other guy's six.

I'm used to watching them harass red-tails, who are not particularly aerobatic, and just kind of row tiredly along while the crows mob them. The harrier is an acrobatic low-level flyer, and she fights back.
>> All the weaponry on those things points down and to the front. <<

Except when they're lying on their back wondering a) what just happened? And b) why is there a pigeon standing on my chest?

I missed the start of it, but presume it went something along the lines of swoop, tumble, splat. I hadn't realised before then that it was possible for a raptor to look embarrassed.
Well, they have different types of preferred prey. Hawks tend towards ground-dwelling critters who generally (from the hawk perspective) move in two dimensions, while peregrines like birds. You have to move really damn fast to hit another bird on the wing when you're starting from far enough away that it can't see you very well.

Here in Mpls-land we have peregrines in the downtown areas due to the rehoming project, in nest boxes on the power plant stacks, and out on the cliffs along the river, bald eagles and ospreys where there is water, and hawks *everywhere*. And the crows hassle all of them but the bald eagles.
Five years ago or so, a pair of ospreys built their nest on the top of a highway light (the light being basically four spotlights on a pair of crossbars at the top of a pole) at the intersection of two highways. Last year the DOT replaced all the highway lights in that intersection except that one--and met with some serious resistance when they announced that after the ospreys left they were taking *that* pole down too. The female osprey returned with a different male and they have nested a little ways down the road from their former location: http://minneapolis.pointslocal.com/story/minneapolis/286258/edina-ospreys-back-to-nest-for-success

Here in Seattle, I've seen the crows regularly harass the bald eagles, too. Of course that's usually during spring, so they're protecting nests. I once watched a small group of about 15 take turns baiting a juvenile bald eagle, just three of them on it at a time, the others hanging out in the trees and catcalling.
There's a hawk in our immediate neighborhood whom I have seen a number of times carrying squirrels (which we have rather a lot of) and rabbits (which we also have rather a lot of). S/he seems to like perching on the roof racks of SUVs and taller cars to eat said squirrels and rabbits, which I can't imagine is terribly endearing to the owners of said vehicles.
Ah...summer in New England. Watching the corvids and accipiters engaging in turf battles. I once saw a red-tailed hawk fly over my house (in a medium-sized town in New Hampshire, so we're not talking out in the sticks) only to return about a minute later, flying in the opposite direction, as a number of jays did their level best to make his life miserable.