May 23 2013

Red Wing Versus Red Tail

Published by at 6:30 am under Bird Behavior,Birds of Prey,Schenley Park

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's wetland restoration at Schenley pond has gone so well that a red-winged blackbird has decided to nest there.

Though I haven't seen his mate there must be a nest because he defends the area from all potential threats.  Yesterday morning I was pleased to see a second vote for the wetland when he had to chase off the competition -- another male red-winged blackbird.

Shortly thereafter one of the resident red-tailed hawks flew in to perch on a dead snag.  Mr. Red-wing was on him right away!

Though I didn't record this video, it shows exactly what happened.  The blackbird perched above the hawk, shouting and flashing his red epaulettes.  He repeatedly dive-bombed the hawk and pecked its back.

At first I thought the red-tail would ignore the red-wing but he could not be ignored.   The hawk whined and flew to shelter under the roadbed of the Panther Hollow Bridge.

Persistence pays off.  In the match-up between Red Wing and Red Tail the blackbird wins.


(video on YouTube from Illinois' Lake County Forest Preserve District)

p.s. The red-tailed hawk in this video is a juvenile so he whines a lot more than the adult at Schenley Park yesterday.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Red Wing Versus Red Tail”

  1. Andreaon 23 May 2013 at 9:22 am

    I’ve definitely heard more than one redwing in the hollow, and saw two males in the trees next to the pond the other day. I’m loving the mixture of redwing and wood thrush calls.

  2. George Bercikon 23 May 2013 at 10:11 am

    In aerial combat between a raptor and an underdog species,the hawk usually ends up losing the encounter. Two reasons mainly: The hawk cannot match the lesser bird’s close-quarter agility; Predators eyes are positioned for straight- ahead vision, the lesser bird harasses the hawk mainly in its blind spot,which drives the hawk nuts. Before long, it will break contact and find a more peaceful location.

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