Top Photo: Red-shouldered hawk and barred owl stand-off, as I arrived on the scene.
Somewhere around 9:30 AM, I received a radio call from a very excited Ranger Gregory, “There’s lots of bird activity…hawk and owl fight…over by the Bird Viewing area.”
I had my hands full so I couldn’t just drop-and-run. By the time I did make it to the bird feeders the action had moved a couple dozen yards down the trail.
It seems, a barred owl was “peacefully” watching the bird feeders when it was spotted by the regulars. Bad enough for the owl to be harassed by chickadees, titmice, wrens and bluejays, but the resident red-shouldered hawks got wind of the situation and let the owl have it.
The hawks are gearing up for nesting season and another bird of prey in the midst can not be tolerated. The owl took flight and ended up hugging the trunk of a conifer 12 feet or so off the main trail. The problem? the bluejays, and other dickie birds were certainly not ready to call it quits, nor were the hawks, their relentless kee-eear, kee-eear, kee-eear calls piercing the chill morning air.
The hawks made several dive-bombs at the owl with a few face to face touch-and-go landings next to the anxious owl. I don’t know if they actually made contact (the owl was well hidden from my perspective) but one hawk came out with a feather attached to its bill.
After several more minutes of harried attacks by the hawks, the owl took flight through the woods, hawk in pursuit. Thirty yards or so into the forest and the hawk appeared satisfied the owl was departing their neck of the woods and ceased the chase as the owl stayed its course and continued flying as fast and as far away as it could.
Just another day on the range.