SX50--peregrines take on an intruder

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Don_Campbell
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SX50--peregrines take on an intruder
8 months ago

Throughout the Fall, in nice weather, I have gone out to check on the adult pair of falcons at Yaquina Head. I have been pleasantly surprised that I've seen one or both of them almost every time I have been out. Unlike when they are feeding the youngsters, they have little to do most of the time but soak up some sun and keep the red-tailed hawks away.

Late Saturday morning when I went out to the cliffs both adults were high up on the rocks calling back and forth continuously, loudly and very plaintively. I looked around expecting to see one of the hawks perched or flying but I did not see one. After a few minutes of listening to the cacaphony, a Ranger drove up and parked. She told me that they had been calling like that all morning and she asked if I had seen why. I said I had looked for a hawk or an eagle and not seen either. She pointed to the other cliff and said, "It blends in really well so it is hard to see in the shadows but there's a great horned owl up there. He has been sitting there for at least 3 hours and the falcons have been upset the whole time."

Shortly after that the female flew down off her perch and then flew quickly over to the owl. She buzzed it about 5 times, circling around and coming within a few feet and then veering away and circling around again. The owl, about twice the size of the peregrines, was unperterbed.

The falcon is past the owl already. He's down in the shadows just below the center of the photo.

Thanks for looking.

Don

Danel
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Re: SX50--peregrines take on an intruder
In reply to Don_Campbell, 8 months ago

I think the owl would be in trouble if the falcons had managed to make him try to fly.  He realized that sitting there on the cliff there wasn't much they could do about him.  He'll probably stay until after dusk then he'll go hunting.  Nice shots and a good nature story you were able to witness.

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Augustin Man
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Re: SX50--peregrines take on an intruder
In reply to Danel, 8 months ago

Danel wrote:

I think the owl would be in trouble if the falcons had managed to make him try to fly. He realized that sitting there on the cliff there wasn't much they could do about him. He'll probably stay until after dusk then he'll go hunting. Nice shots and a good nature story you were able to witness.

I think you're dead right: animals are much cleverer than we humans think: I saw a documentary about an aquila hunting rabbits; if the rabbit ran downwards, he was dead, but if he ran UPWARDS aquila didn't plunge on him, lest hurting herself to the ground, so the seasoned rabbits just hopped upwards and were safe !

All the best,

Augustin

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Augustin Man
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Re: SX50--peregrines take on an intruder
In reply to Don_Campbell, 8 months ago

Another documentary which your skill, passion and love for nature make into a delightful photo series and a captivating comment !

Thank you, Don, and happy shooting,

Augustin

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Don_Campbell
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Re: SX50--peregrines take on an intruder
In reply to Danel, 8 months ago

Danel wrote:

I think the owl would be in trouble if the falcons had managed to make him try to fly. He realized that sitting there on the cliff there wasn't much they could do about him. He'll probably stay until after dusk then he'll go hunting. Nice shots and a good nature story you were able to witness.

Thanks for the comment Danel. Basically after the first couple of weeks I spent out at the cliffs last May, I became captivated by the stories and trying to capture images that told those stories.

I'm sure you are right. I've seen the falcons chase off bald eagles, whacking them in the wings and tail all the way out of sight. Similarly, they are far more agile in the air than the red-tailed hawks. The hawks are far bigger and they are fine hunters using a different style and different prey but they are not much of a match for the falcons in aerial acrobatic combat. I have seen the falcons "buzz" a standing red-tail enough to push him into the air. From there it was simply retreat for the red-tail and be whacked and nibbled at in the process by the two falcons.

I doubt that the falcons could knock the owl or the hawks out of the sky but they can really make the getaway flight unpleasant.

Thanks for looking!

Don

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Don_Campbell
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Re: SX50--peregrines take on an intruder
In reply to Augustin Man, 8 months ago

Thanks as always for the comments Augustin.

Yes, happy shooting!

Don

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Sactojim
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Re: SX50--peregrines take on an intruder
In reply to Don_Campbell, 8 months ago

Love these Don! The falcon in flight coming at you is amazing. This is really showing your skills and strength of the long zoom SX50. Enjoyed them all.

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evancj
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Re: SX50--peregrines take on an intruder
In reply to Don_Campbell, 8 months ago

A very interesting story Don, and the accompanying photos were well taken.

Thank for keeping us posted.

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