[CT Birds] falcons vs. blackbirds

Anthony Zemba Anthony.Zemba at gza.com
Tue Aug 9 10:20:57 EDT 2011

Since we are swapping mid-air raptor catches, I have a cool experience to share if y'all will grant me this one pardon (since it was witnessed by me whilst not in CT). Paul's Falco vs. Agelaius story reminded me of the time I was out on Sandy Hook in NJ and all of the sudden in an instant every shorebird in the vicinity took to the air in a flurry and bolted past me heading north. I thought it must be a raptor and turned to look south to see a Peregrine winging its way up the hook. Then, one of the displaying Red-winged Blackbirds in the nearby marsh - perhaps bursting with testosterone that spring afternoon - thought it wise to fly straight upward into the air to perhaps harrass the "hawk" that was invading its territorial airspace.  In mid-ascent it must have dawned on the blackbird that it was a falcon and not a hawk, as the blackbird put the skids on suddenly. But before the blackbird could turn to retreat, the Peregrine did a quick dip from its trajectory and easily nabbed the ill-fated icterid, turned, and flew back south down the Hook from whence it came.

Anthony Zemba CHMM

Certified Ecologist / Soil Scientist

GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.

655 Winding Brook Drive

Suite 402

Glastonbury, CT 06033


1350 Main Street

Springfield, MA 01103


860-966-5888 (cell)

413-732-1249 (fax)

anthony.zemba at gza.com

-----Original Message-----
From: ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org [mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of Carrier Graphics
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 7:17 PM
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: [CT Birds] migration and predators.

Just a short observation I had years ago like Dave Ps about migration and


I was at Bakersville swamp in New Hartford, watching the recently arrived

Red-winged Blackbirds setting up their territories. I had one beautiful

displaying male filling my bins, when all of a sudden - WHAM! A Merlin surprised

this displaying male from behind and silently flew off with it in it's talons,

in the same direction the BB was going. Quick, silent, efficient and boy was it

a shocker for me to witness this unexpected capture in an instant!

Paul Carrier


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