I would like to think that this is the last of my wildlife stories, but there are always new members of the animal kingdom that wander in from time to time. There is one important difference with this story; it does NOT take place on the front porch.
This summer, while doing nothing in particular, I heard the distinctive call of the Red-shouldered Hawk that often frequents our area. This is truly a beautiful bird. He’s exotically painted, fast, agile, and fierce. When he shows himself on a perch nearby, all small animals run for cover. In our area, he is Prince of the sky. As is our custom, we have named him, and the rest of his family, RaSHi.
While RaSHi is the Prince, he does have some competition for food, usually the crow. Crows are greater in number, operate in packs, and seem to delight in the tactic of playing the spoiler. They don’t care who killed the prey; they want a piece of it. That may work with most of the other competition like the Turkey Vultures, but RaSHi seems keenly aware of his status and his talents.
On this particular day, RaSHi had caught and killed something that was of interest to all the crows. I never got a look at it but it was probably a small rabbit. While he was enjoying his fresh catch, six crows came in and started taunting him. Three would taunt him while the other three would try to steal the rabbit. This went on for a few minutes while I stared spellbound at the sight. Finally, RaSHi lost his patience with this game. With one talon, he secured the rabbit and with the other talon he grabbed a crow by the neck and held him to the ground. Whoa! I had never seen anything like that before.
[This would be a good time to start the music]
The other five crows left for nearby tree limbs and started screaming like kids at the playground when a fight breaks out. RaSHi was undeterred however, and as the crow under his control became less of a bother, RaSHi went back to his rabbit. The screaming of the five crows had alerted more crows and there were now eight crows in the trees all screaming. RaSHi then released his captured crow who then walked away, since flight was not possible for him now.
This is when the story gets exciting. These crows have their pride and they were just angry enough with one of their brothers being hurt that they decided to do something really stupid. When RaSHi released his captured crow, all eight of the other crows attacked. The rabbit, at this point, was forgotten. This was when the battle began. Fortunately for me, this battle would take place over a very large open field beyond our back yard.
As I am watching, and saying “uh oh” to nobody in particular, eight crows are circling and attacking when RaSHi took off. 8-1, Outstanding! It only took 15 seconds for the first crow to fall in jagged fashion, then another, then another. In less than a minute, the odds had improved to 5-1. RaSHi was capable of speeds well beyond the crows and his talons were far greater weapons. Just how stupid are these crows, anyway? Within another minute, two more crows had fallen and the remaining three crows swallowed their pride and bugged out from the fight.
RaSHi circled twice more, probably just for show, and then went back to his rabbit. The whole episode from beginning to end took less than ten minutes. Nature at it’s finest, and I had a front row seat. Absolutely Outstanding!
© J T Weaver
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