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Thread: Mystery -Samson and Goliath Situation.

  1. #1

    Mystery -Samson and Goliath Situation.

    These last few hot days, particularly now the fields are being cut, I have seen an abundance of Buzzards.
    Some gliding on the thermals and some taking advantage of the cut fields.
    This is the mystery, I have seen it many times but never really given it any thought until now.
    I have just spent at least half an hour watching two Crows 'mobbing' a Buzzard that could easily take either of them.
    I saw one Crow swoop down onto the Buzzard and the Buzzard actually turns upside down in the air and extends it's talons towards the swooping crow which vears off at the last minute.
    All the time this was going on the Buzzard's mate was watching the whole show from a distance but offered no help other than keeping an eye on whichever crow was not doing the 'mobbing'.
    I have seen instances of several Crows/Rooks mobbing Buzzards but never actually seen a strike.
    I have seen this phenomena many times over the years but just looked at it then dismissed it as nothing unusual.
    Does anybody know why it happens and has anybody seen a strike ?
    I am sure a Buzzard could make short work of a Crow/Rook if it wanted to.
    Sorry this subject is not Deer related but it is part and parcel of the things I observe when stalking.

  2. #2
    I too have seen this many times, corvids also react like this with kites as well as buzzards which are both common in my area.

    I have often thought exactly the same, why does the big bird not attack the small bird???

    My theory is as they are generally competing with the same food source, IE carrion eaters. I realise this does still not explain why the bird of prey does not better defend itself???

  3. #3
    I have not seen this in flight but when we were in Aberdeenshire, on a field that we could see from our kitchen window there was regularly two rooks or crows pestering a buzzard - it was fascinating to watch and at no time did the buzzard react aggressively, it just seemed to take whatever the corvids could throw at it.

  4. #4
    Buzzards themselves will use this behaviour against competing raptors, such as white tailed eagles (sea eagles) in the Hebredes, which of course are significantly bigger. Crows will also mob owls who due to family pressures may be hunting in the day.

    I think it's just a way of trying to annoy the competition so they go elsewhere.

  5. #5
    I've never got to the bottom of this. I can sort of understand the mobbing but why the bigger birds don't defend themselves I don't get. Maybe they are simply not agile enough to actually catch a corvid? In the Hebrides I see it a lot with eagles, in fact the mobbing corvids are often the first thing that draws your eye to the eagle.
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  6. #6
    I suspect it fear of injury if they concentrated & nailed one crow I suspect the others would attack it, as I have seen when crow/pigeon shooting if you bring down an injured crow the others flock to its defence whilst it's calling from the ground initially untill they realise there's nothing there to attack or untill you shoot a few & they get the idea it's not safe, so I suspect it's a numbers game and the big birds won't risk getting injured.

  7. #7
    Buzzards are not the most agile fliers and i suspect they would have some difficulty actually catching a crow. I see this pretty well daily and have watched it through binoculars. The crows get very close but seldom actually make contact. Mobbing the raptors seems very common and crows get very aggressive if buzzards or even ravens are in their territory parrticularly at nesting time. Gulls are always having a go at the buzzards who really don't seem that bothered. Mind you if a peregrine appears it's a different matter the crows keep quiet then!

  8. #8
    Different raptors are designed to take prey in different circumstances, and of different sizes, a buzzards primary food source is normally rabbits, voles, worms etc, and carrion, catching a moving target on the wing requires different muscle power, balance and agility, more akin to say a goshawk, (you rarely see these being harried by crows unless perched up somewhere) you may then ask why small passerines chase off sparrow hawks, but a sparrow hawk relies on surprise to catch their prey so the birds chasing them have the upper hand. Contact is rare because as said before, the risk of sustaining damage is too high for no gain, the crows won't pose any threat to the buzzard, they are just trying to move it on.
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  9. #9
    Seen this a lot. Last time was on Mull watching a Sea Eagle being gradually worn down. It is said that man killed off the Sea Eagles, made me wonder whether or not a factor was man not killing enough crows...

  10. #10
    I watched a mobbing session for around ten minutes, then the Buzzard must have had a brain f*rt, the next time it went inverted it locked talons with Mr Crow, they then proceeded earthward in a sycamore seed imitation, just before impact the Buzzard let go & recovered normal flight, Mr Crow made a very hasty bee line for the trees.
    (The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of The Uneatable.) " If I can help, I will help!." Former S.A.C.S. member!

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