Part of the Bay Area News Group

Scrub jay tells red-tailed hawk to “Get lost!”

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 at 6:12 am in Hawks, Jays, Mockingbird.

Scrub jay harassing a red-tailed hawk. Photo by Lissa Heaton Severe, Walnut Creek, CA
1jay hawk lisa heaton severe wc

Gary:
We have a red-tailed hawk nest in our neighborhood.  Every year they come back to lay eggs.  The babies are about 6 weeks old now, very cute! When I went out to take a picture of the mom at the top of the tree, I noticed a scrub jay flying around it, basically squawking and pestering it.  Why would a scrub jay take on a hawk?!?
Lissa Heaton Severe, Walnut Creek, California

Lissa:
It is the nature of small birds — jays and mockingbirds in particular — to kick up a BIG noisy fuss whenever they encounter a bird of prey. They are Nature’s alarm system that lets all the other birds know when a predator is in the area. They will also do the same when they see a cat, and sometimes a fox squirrel. Fox squirrels are known to rob bird nests, eating eggs and sometimes small chicks.

Jays and mockers are smaller and faster than hawks, so unless they get too close, or careless, they can pretty much jump up and down and scream their heads off and do what they want without getting caught. The hawks know this and will often just ignore them. /Gary

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

Leave a Reply