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What's this all about?

(58 Posts)
Aka Sun 05-May-13 18:22:33

Spent the day in the garden but distracted by the 'dog fight' being acted out in the sky above me. Large(ish) bird of prey (buzzard?) flying over the gardens kept being attacked by a very irate male blackbird.
The blackbird was flying at the buzzard and they were fighting it out. At one point they disappeared into the cloud cover. Then the blackbird would reappear and sit at the top of tall conifer. When the buzzard reappeared he would make loud, angry cawing noises and head up to where it was and there would be another fight, this time they disappeared out of sight over the roof tops. Then the blackbird is back in the conifer, on guard, and when the buzzard comes into sight he attacks again.
This went on for hours. The bird of prey was twice the size of the blackbird, at least. What stamina that little bird had.

Flowerofthewest Sun 05-May-13 19:00:00

Definitely defending it's territory and potential young. Smaller birds will always attack birds of prey what ever the size. I have seen crows attack a golden eagle in the Hebrides. The buzzard doesn't rob nests at all but the blackbird is programmed to attack anything that looks like a raptor. Even herons will put up a flock of geese as it resembles a bird of prey to them.

Nature is wonderful.

Aka Sun 05-May-13 19:33:14

Thanks Flower I thought as it's the nesting season this might be the answer. It was such an unequal battle though. What a brave little bird. I don't know if he survived as I had to go out but I'll look for him tomorrow.

Bags Sun 05-May-13 19:40:19

I expect the black bird was a crow (carrion). We get lots of buzzards and crows here and there are lots of stand-offs, usually several crows mobbing one buzzard. I think it is usually territorial – defensive on the crows' part. I,ve never quite understood why, since the buzzards are probably hunting voles, and crows don't do that.

Bags Sun 05-May-13 19:44:19

Buzzards would take nestlings and crows nest high up in trees which would be vulnerable to buzzard hunting. Blackbirds (Turdus merula) nest lower in much bushier growth into which buzzards could not go.

Bags Sun 05-May-13 19:49:16

Buzzards don't making angry cawing noises that I'm aware of. Crows are noisy and angry-sounding.

Butty Sun 05-May-13 19:54:12

We've certainly seen crows mobbing the buzzards here, Aka. Quite an aerial display.

Ana Sun 05-May-13 20:02:06

The jackdaws do it round here - I suppose they're a type of crow?

Flowerofthewest Sun 05-May-13 20:21:50

Agree that Buzzards would take higher nesting nestlings. Have even seen one brave buzzard trying for an Osprey chick. The Osprey mother threw herself onto her back and lashed at the buzzard with talons. Amazing as we were in the forward hide with viewing screen. It was probably the crow cawing, as Bags says Buzzards mewl. Yes Ana, carrion crows, magpies, jackdaws, rooks, choughs are all corvids (members of the crow family)

Aka Sun 05-May-13 21:35:27

It was the black bird that was 'cawing' and I'm thinking it might have been a crow. Still brave to attack and keep attacking a much bigger bird...without reinforcements. Quite an aerial display.

Bags Mon 06-May-13 06:37:03

Keep a look out for more buzzards, aka. Their aerial 'courting' is fabulous to watch. Great to hear the wild, haunting cries they make too.

I love watching corvids on windy days. I often see them (crows and jackdaws) apparently 'deliberately' tumbling out of perches high in trees or from the tops of buildings and then catching an air updraught with spectacular accuracy after they've 'wiffled' downwards at top speed for a while. It's almost as if they are playing and showing off, though I'm sure the practice of their flying skills is the real point.

(not sure if wiffled is a word, but I know what I mean wink)

Bags Mon 06-May-13 06:39:09

Yay! it is! But it's spelled "whiffle". <adds whiffle to favourite word list>

Flowerofthewest Mon 06-May-13 20:57:09

I love whiffling (not me but seeing birds Whiffle. especially starlings and geese. Choughs do a lovely whiffle as do ravens. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm give me a good whiffle any day. P>S> don't think GN spell check recognises a whiffle grin

Bags you sound like a woman after my own heart. Love love love birds and birdwatching. NOT a twitcher but love all birds and their behaviours. Off to Skomer Island at the end of the month as a volunteer warden. My guilty pleasure (GS spell check not recognising twitcher either!!!!)

Aka Mon 06-May-13 21:03:15

No buzzards, whiffling or otherwise today. But watched a wood pigeon seeing off a magpie in no uncertain fashion. I do know there are at least two squabs in one of my conifers.

Galen Mon 06-May-13 21:27:13

Watched flamingos, ducks, geese,swans, doves, pigeons, tit, corvids and raptors today! A combination of being at the Slimbridge wildfowl and wetlands trust and home garden.
The first wild cranes to nest in England for centuries are nesting there (Slimbridge, not my garden) . I didn't see them as DGD had had enough. We had arrived at 9.45 am and waited while I arranged annual membership for all. So at 1.30 pm she was tired out! She is only 22 months.
I can really recommend this place for toddlers. It has a wellyboot place with safe streams and walk in fountains, slides, etc.
Saw the otters and DGD was fascinated with them being fed.(so was Graggy!)
Can't recommend more!

Bags Tue 07-May-13 06:06:57

Bang on, flowerofthewest. I love noticing the everyday jizz of ordinary birds, though it is nice to see something unusual in the garden now and again. DH and I got very excited to see and hear both chiffchaffs and willow warblers in the same tree just a few yards from us in the garden recently. They come every year (chiffchaffs first) as a sign of spring.

Waiting for the hirundines now smile

Hope you have fun on Skomer. Wish I was coming too!

Bags Tue 07-May-13 06:08:37

galen, that sounds like a lovely outing! smile

Ariadne Tue 07-May-13 06:25:21

Galen isn't Slimbridge fantastic? DS2 and family live not far away from it, and have family membership, so we discovered it with them. It really is a lovely day out.

We didn't notice when we moved in, but there is a (I think) house martins' nest near the roof at the front of the house. It is now occupied, and there is much twittering going on. And a bit of a mess on the front

Flowerofthewest Tue 07-May-13 09:01:59

Oh Bags, you know the word jizz. We are truly soul mates wink Had a yellowhammer in the garden today, probably looking for water, not a lot of puddles at the moment, it was amazing with the sun bouncing off its yellow head! a first, I think, for our garden. Also had siskin for first time and we have had for the past 4 years 10+ reed buntings on our feeders. I love birds.

Galen, glad you had such a lovely time, haven't been to Slimbridge for a while but it is a fantastic place.

Elegran Tue 07-May-13 09:43:53

Right, birdwatchers, here is a stupid question. I am familiar with the appearance of the birds that frequent my garden, and recognise some of their songs, but there is one who hides in a tree to say "chi-chi-pooey, chi-chi-pooey" WTF is it? I hear it so often it must br a common one, but I can never see the damn bird to idebtify it . . .

Elegran Tue 07-May-13 09:44:21

Or identify, even.

whenim64 Tue 07-May-13 10:03:08

Just checked my 'Chirp' app and the Marsh Tit makes exactly that song, Elegran. Could that be the bird you're hearing?

Elegran Tue 07-May-13 10:36:10

I don't know of any marshes in the vicinity! but I shall look it up in my bird book and see whether it fits the bill. (bill grin)

Bags Tue 07-May-13 10:41:38

Not sure without hearing it, elegran.

I've just beat a hasty retreat with my scythe from our front bank. I've been meaning to cut down some rushes for a while but it has been too cold and too many other jobs to do. Perfect scything weather today: sunny and mild but not too hot.

Anyway, starting at the top of the bank I was working my way downhill when a tiny bird silently flew out of a tussock og grass near my feet. I lifted some grass and there was a willow warbler's nest with five or six eggs. Move away, Bags!!! I hope the adult bird is back on the eggs by now.

Willow warblers have nested in the front bank before but they have always been in holes much further up. Daren't go and look closely again just now but I'll be able to see from the bedroom window if there is any to-ing and fro-ing in due course. Fingers crossed everyone!

I scythed another bit and am now cooling down. Even put a skirt on for airiness. I think I'll Embrace my Age this year and not shave my legs wink and [can'tbearsedemoticon]

Elegran Tue 07-May-13 10:46:06

Thanks, When It sounds possible. They seem to frequent "broadleaf woodland, and also copses, parks and gardens" more than marshes (?) and there are "a few" in Southern Scotland. They also sound fairly non-descript and able to hide in bushes. But they don't quite sound like a sneeze. I shall consult my ornithological friend, who has been out of commission after an op but should be back in circulation by now. If I feed her cake and coffee in the garden we might get a live performance.