A Reverse Mobbing
A red-tailed hawk disrupts a large flock of starlings
October 26, 2008

Last months I was about to photograph a typical autumn scene in State College: a large flock of starlings sitting close together. Just before I could click the shutter, a red-tailed hawk flew right into their midst, scattering all the starlings.
Red-tailed hawk flies into starlings

A typical mobbing - at this time of year - generally involves starlings mobbing a hawk, but occasionally I've seen the reverse: a hawk deciding enough is enough and displacing large numbers of birds.
Red-tailed hawk, alone
  Why? I've no idea. Perhaps the hawk was in a foul mood, or perhaps the hawk wanted to let the smaller birds know who was boss.
Red-tailed hawk with starling background

The starlings returned to swarm around the red-tailed hawk, but the hawk seemed indifferent to their numbers.
All clear: Red-tailed hawk exits

A minute or so after the starlings left the area, the red-tailed hawk also departed into a sky free of starlings.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K200D, with the SMC 1000mm reflex lens (handheld), for these photos.

My Pennsylvania bird list   ||   A mobbing   || Red-tailed hawks: Two photos   and   Changing places

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