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Hummingbirds vs. Hawks: It has nothing to do with size

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, August 5th, 2009 at 7:23 am in hummingbirds.

Hummingbird vs. red-tail hawk (Bryan McClure/Concord, CA)
humming hawk

These interesting photos by Bryan McClure of Concord, California, show a curious Anna’s hummingbird zooming in to have a closer look at an immature red-tailed hawk sitting on a power pole that’s probably right smack in the middle of the hummingbird’s territory.

When it comes to defending its turf, hummingbirds don’t give a hoot about size. Fortunately for the hawk,it doesn’t compete with the hummer for flower nectar … otherwise the tiny but VERY AGGRESSIVE hummingbird would have quickly sent it on its way.

Hummingbird vs. red-tail hawk (Bryan McClure/Concord, CA)
humming hawk2

This reminds me of the time I looked up and spotted a golden eagle cruising along … when it suddenly took a quick nosedive, whipped around to the right, stalled, zoomed back up, tucked a wing and nosed over in a quick dive to the right, then back up into level flight again. Curious at what might be upsetting such a huge bird of prey, I ran and grabbed my binoculars for a closer look.

There seemed to be a black speck buzzing around the eagle. As the giant bird flew closer, the tiny speck turned into a hummingbird that was zipping back and forth and around the eagle, once even appearing to bounce off the eagle’s back.

Golden eagle (Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA)

Try as it might, that great bomber of a bird could do nothing to stave off that tiny fighter plane hummingbird. The eagle was clearly outclassed by a bird that was smaller than one of its toes.

Wow! Was it something the eagle said? /Gary

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One Response to “Hummingbirds vs. Hawks: It has nothing to do with size”

  1. Susan Meadors Says:

    What great pictures! How did you happen to spot that situation as it was happening? You must be an exceptionally aware photographer. I hope we can see more of your work in the near future.

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