Attack of the Mockingbird


Coming home from SA State Park yesterday morning we spotted a hawk on the power line along the highway as we sped by.  I quickly checked my mirrors then done a neat U-turn and came back and stopped near the curb, opposite the bird.  On closer examination with my binoculars I believe  it to be an immature Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni).

Swainson’s Hawk – immature

A few feet away on the same wire, was a Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos).  As we watched, the mockingbird decided he didn’t like the presence of the hawk.  It would take off, fly a bit and and harass the hawk.  Repeatedly, it would fly at the hawk, actually coming in contact with it.  It was trying to knock the hawk off of the wire, or at least get it to fly away.  The hawk would have none of it, and it just stood or sat it’s ground and continued to take the beating.

Swainson’s Hawk and Northern Mockingbird

Swainson’s Hawk and Northern Mockingbird

Swainson’s Hawk under attack by a Northern Mockingbird

As you can see, the Northern Mockingbird wasn’t messing around.  He meant business, but the hawk ignored him as if he was just a pesky mosquito.  He eventually gave it up and said adios to the hawk.

Click on any photo to see an enlargement.

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36 thoughts on “Attack of the Mockingbird

  1. It seems rare that you miss a great opportunity, Bob! I bet you never leave home without it – your camera, of course! What a neat series of pictures. It reminds me of something I saw a few months ago (but of course didn’t get any pictures) : about three bluejays were attacking a hawk while flying! I think they started out on a tree limb, then followed the hawk when it had enough. I’m surprised that hawks don’t turn around and just eat the smaller birds!

    • You are very right. I always have my camera with me, so I don’t miss opportunities like this very often. I don’t know why hawks don’t get more agressive and some the birds. I have seen them attack and eat White-winged Doves. Thanks for the comment, Karen.

  2. Boy that last photo is amazing. Sometimes I have days like that …when I find some big enormous thing in my way and it won’t budge! Poor mockingbird…. I know how it feels! Please forgive me for my anthropomorphism… :-)

  3. A really fun sequence Bob – this kind of series isn’t easy to get. And your “check your mirrors/U-turn remark brought a huge smile to my face. I know that maneuver very well!

  4. Fantastic shots Bob! The N. Mockingbirds are the “security crew” in my backyard. I seen them chase hawks and crows several times. :)

  5. Love these shots. Amazing how you captured the attack. You got luck. My son has a stuffed Red Tail Hawk that makes sounds. He was at a zoo and the Hawk in the cage followed his eyes on that hawk making its call. Really cool.

  6. Ah…you actually captured that happening! Fantastic. Love the wing spread as she’s coming on. We witness it all the time…they are relentless on crows as well, three times their size.

    I love mockingbirds’ vivacity. Makes me proud that they are our state bird. You go kick some hawk butt, mama mockingbird!

    • That little squirmish was cute. That Northern Hummingbird wasn’t about to give up. He just decided to pull back, retreat and try again another day. :-)

      Thanks for the comment, Shannon. :-)

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