Spotting a Great Horned Owl is not normally easy but sometimes you get the help of other feathered creatures. Such was the case here. I headed out at sunrise to try to see if I could find Houdini and Henrietta, a nesting pair of Great Horned Owls not far from my home.
I did find them surprisingly easily initially but both flew off, preferring their privacy. I wasn’t having much fun relocating them but then heard a racket of cackling crows. I knew that likely meant they had found one of my owl friends and were not happy about.
Following the sound, I found Henrietta and, unfortunately for her, about a half-dozen crows that were hassling her. She was pretty upset, no doubt just wanting to sleep after a night out and about. She would move to another roost and the crows would follow, never giving her a moment of peace. This went on for a good half hour before the black birds gave up and my female owl friend got a break.
This black beauty was looking for a meal and was not too picky about what it ate. The area Bald Eagles had dropped some of their food on the lake and while it didn’t look appetizing to me, this bird thought it tasted pretty decent.
The American Crow is an extraordinarily intelligent bird, thought to be among the smartest. They are also pretty fearless, not afraid to take on big raptors that happen to be in an area it wants to control. I’ve seen them incessantly hassle much bigger birds from owls to eagles, eventually driving them off with their non-stop cackling.
Not a great quality picture but some interesting behavior. Crows, like many birds, are scavengers and this one seems to have found a nice little meal. It was likely left behind by a raptor as there were many eagles and hawks in the area.
An image of the same eagle I posted this morning – this time showing the crow in hot pursuit. Little birds don’t appreciate big raptors hanging around and I have seen similar behavior many times. In this case, I was a bit annoyed as I really wanted a picture of the eagle sitting but it wasn’t allowed to as the crow simply would not leave it alone.
Certainly my camera is usually focused on raptors or large mammals but every now and then other birds grab my attention. These four are some that I captured images of over the past couple of months.
Great Blue Heron aborted landing. This heron was attempting to land on a very small island at a pond in Longmont, Colorado. Its speed was too great through and it missed the target, splashing its feet in the water for an instant before circling around for another attempt.
Sleepy female Red Winged Blackbird. This little lady was hanging out with a couple dozen of her lady friends in Adams County recently. While the others were raising quite a ruckus, she seemed quite disinterested.
Crow closeup. This Crow was hanging out at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, making lots of noise as they oftentimes do. I suspect it was used to visitors feeding it and it was simply looking for a meal. It certainly was rather tame allowing me to get a nice closeup.
Downy Woodpecker hunts for a meal. While out for a walk I heard some light tapping sounds coming from a nearby tree. Investigating I found this nice looking fellow pecking away at a cottonwood tree.
Crows and other black birds really do not like raptors. They will raise a huge ruckus at them and make close flybys trying to chase them off. A lot of time it works as the bigger bird just gets frustrated and leaves.
Yesterday two crows decided they didn’t appreciate this young Bald Eagle’s presence. They flew at it and cawed incessantly trying their best to get the eagle to leave. It however simply ignored the noisemakers and eventually the crows gave up. The interaction was a lot of fun to watch.
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I see scenes like this frequently where smaller birds pester and hassle large raptors, trying to get them to leave the area. Certainly you would think the raptor would simply crush the littler bird but oftentimes the tactic is successful.
Here, this crow and another were incessantly cawing at this juvenile eagle and performing very close flybys. After trying its best just to ignore them, the eagle gave up and headed for a more peaceful tree without all the ruckus. Taken at Cherry Creek State Park, Colorado.