American crows attacking an immature Coopers Hawk (photo by Steve Gosser)
With so many crows in town it’s inevitable they’ll encounter a predator they don’t like.  Pity the immature Coopers hawk in this picture! 

As a species Coopers hawks have enough moxy to cope with crows but 3 to 1 is stretching the odds. 

I’m sure the crows started it.  A “Coop” is not going to eat a healthy adult crow but the crows remember what the hawk can do to their weak youngsters, so when they found an immature Coopers hawk they decided to test their strength, maybe have a little fun at the hawk’s expense. 

They’re serious about this fight but it’s not life threatening.  Eventually it breaks up, no one gets hurt, and everyone involved learns a valuable lesson. 

The crows learn about cooperation.  The Coopers hawk learns to avoid gangs.

(photo by Steve Gosser, September 2008)

4 thoughts on “Fight!

  1. We once sat on our deck and watched a group of crows run a sharp shinned hawk out of the neighborhood. The crows were very clever about it. One crow sat at the top of the highest tree as lookout. Two crows chased the hawk zigzag down the road in and out of the woods. They kept losing him so there was alot of searching and squawking going on. When they’d find him, they’d flush him and he’d dive into the woods on the other side of the road. After a bit, the two crows doing all the searching and chasing would land in a yard to rest and the two crows that had been resting would take over so the crows were always fresh and the hawk was getting exhausted.

  2. That is entertaining…Margaret and Lee and I watched 3 crows mob a Red-tail last spring as we were heading up Ridgetrop Trail at Yellow Creek. I’ve seen a few encounters at Crooked Creek, too.

  3. I had a red-tail patrolling along the east busway yesterday. First it headed north from the Shadyside bit towards the Bloomfield Bridge. I eventually saw him find a tree to stop in once it was only a speck in my binoculars.

    An hour or so later I spotted it again, not just circling this time but also diving and climbing. Seemed it had three crows chasing it around. I wish they’d be a little closer to my vantage point.

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