Friday, October 28, 2011
Crows Just Wanna Have Fun
And nothing is more fun than harassing a big, old (relatively) clumsy raptor, who by now just wants to get out of there. (No wonder the word for a flock is "a murder of crows").
I was walking through Wingra Park and heard a big, raucus commotion in the sky. A group of crows were driving a hawk crazy, taking turns doing aggressive fly-bys from weird angles. Most of the crows soon broke off, but kept chattering. One persistent crow, however, looked as if it was having so much fun it just couldn't get enough. This behavior is called mobbing. It seems to be protective territorial behavior, since hawks are not averse to swooping down on crow nests, especially when they have young in them. A hawk could tear a crow apart, but given the crows' agility, it's too much work when they're in the air -- especially when there is a group. So the hawks generally retreat. It's just not worth the energy to retaliate. It's always fun to watch the much smaller birds go after the big predator.