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