While doing a “hawk watch” along the Colorado River on December’s trip I had the opportunity to watch another group of corvids harassing a larger bird. In this case it was a group of Black-billed Magpie mobbing a Red-tailed Hawk.
Before I relate the story it seems I keep running into this kind of action. Back in February I posted the story about a Great Horned Owl being mobbed by a flock of American Crows at Johnson County Park. And in early January I saw a group of Blue Jays harassing and chasing a Red-Shoulder Hawk in Geist Reservoir in Marion County.
Now I haven’t been out in the field much lately. So am I just stumbling upon corvids acting like this or does it happen more than I know? I really can’t answer the question but it appears to happen frequently.
Colorado Black-billed Magpie Mobbing
While scanning for raptors along the Colorado River north of Grand Junction I noticed one, then two, then several Black-billed Magpies flying to a distant tree line. Now this seemed odd since I had only seen and heard one or two in the previous hour. In fact I had noted earlier in the trip I heard many more magpies than I saw. Which struck me as acting like a Blue Jay. Not wanting to be seen unless the need arose.
It didn’t take long to figure out what was happening. The magpies were gathering in one tree. Which meant there was something present they could harass.
Eventually the dark morph Red-tailed Hawk I had seen earlier appeared and the two flew off together. And the magpies must have lost interest since they did not pursue.