Date: 11/24/21 12:52 pm
From: Robert Ross <plumisl...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Sharp-shinned and Red-Tailed Dance
Today I watched a Sharp-shinned Hawk fly up from a phragmites patch into a
nearby tree. It perched on a low branch and surveyed the area for
several minutes. A gorgeous little hawk.

Two Red-tails were soaring overhead. They were very high above the trees.
One circled down to just over the trees lining the phragmites patch. Then
it charged right at the Sharp-shinned. What I expected to see next was not
what happened.

The Sharp-shinned did not move. The Red-tailed landed on the same branch.
With the Sharp-tailed near the trunk and the Red-tailed farther out, the
larger hawk hopped toward the Sharp-shinned. When it came close enough, the
Red-Tailed used its chest to push the Sharp-shinned off the branch.

The Sharpy did not cry out or make a sound. It simply flew off to a tree
about 40-50 feet away and perched again. The Red-tailed did not follow it.
They both stayed perched for a few minutes. The Red-tailed flew away first
and the Sharpy went its separate way.

We might wonder when we watch two species interact whether they are
asserting dominance, hunting, or perhaps playing. This did seem like play.
The Red-tailed could have easily captured the Sharpy but did not. It simply
wanted to push it off the branch. The Sharpy held to as long as it could,
but the Red-tailed's size won out. The Sharpy seemed no worse for it and
appeared as good-natured as a hawk might appear as it flew away.

Robert Ross
Newbury. MA

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