Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Mockingbird vs the Red Tailed Hawk

I like to sit on my front porch when I first get up. I never know what I'll get to see, but often I get to see something interesting in the natural world.

This morning, I noticed a Red Tail Hawk landing on the utility pole at my neighbor's house across the street. As I was watching him through my binoculars, I noticed that a mockingbird was attacking him. At first I thought the mocking bird was just flying near him to harrass him. But, no, this mockingbird was in full attack mode, nosediving him such that I could see the hawk shudder when contact was made. This went on repeatedly, but the hawk just stayed calm, unreacting as the mockingbird continued the attack. The mocking bird tired and landed within a foot or so of the hawk on the wires. It wasn't long before it took up the attack again. Finally, the long suffering hawk flew down to the ground and stayed for awhile, later flying off low to the ground.

The mystery is why was the mockingbird so determined to fight the hawk. Yes, mockingbirds are very territorial, so perhaps it was just a territory squabble. But it is nesting time, perhaps there was a nearby nest that the mockingbird was defending.

I have to give the mockingbird credit, the hawk was much larger, bigger claws and beak. Whether it was courage or stupidity, the mockingbird was certainly attacking a much larger, more powerful creature. I have to give the hawk some credit to, I suspect it could have easily taken out that annoying, pesky mockingbird, but chose not to act.

This sure reminds me of some human behaviors as well. As humans, we have territory issues as well and we can be pretty "courageous or stupid" when we defend those human boundaries. Sometimes we are like the hawk, ignoring those people trying to peck at us - choosing not to retaliate in kind.

Yes, there are many life lessons I learn by watching the wildlife from my front porch!