Red-winged Blackbird vs Red-tailed Hawk

Every once in a while, birders see something special . . . something unexpected.

Yesterday Ingrid and I were at a salt marsh observing the first wave of shorebird moving south.  It always amazes me that fall migration begins in July.

Suddenly we heard the unmistakable call of a Red-tailed Hawk, the same call that is used in every movie western.

Then we noticed a male Red-winged Blackbird chasing the Hawk.  A Red-tailed Hawk weighs 20 times as much as a Blackbird, but the smaller bird was trying to drive the predator off by grabbing tail feathers and/or landing on its back.

The Red-winged Blackbird was probably protecting a nest and it continued the attack for five minutes.  The Hawk flew left/right, up/down trying to escape his tormentor . . . crying as he went . . . but the smaller bird would not give up.

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Finally, the Red-tailed surrender the field, escaping into the nearby woods and the victorious Red-winged disappeared into the marsh.

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