Raptor Ruckus

A big Red-tailed Hawk hovered low over the northwest corner of the park late in the afternoon, imitating the White-tailed Kite in its ability to stay in one spot in the air while scanning for prey below. When a hawk does that, it’s called “kiting.” Finding no success, the hawk settled on an evergreen in the west side forest grove. There it attracted the attention of a real kite — a White-tailed Kite — who did not appreciate the hawk’s presence and wished it begone. The kite launched at least a dozen high-speed strafing attacks on the hawk, passing inches over its head and screaming. The hawk, several times bigger than the kite, put on its fiercest moves — wings broad and high, beak wide open, gull gaping red. The kite persisted and eventually won; it forced the hawk off the tree, attacked it several times in the air in pursuit, and forced it to the ground. Here’s my video, offered with apologies for the shakiness. I was in the park for companionship and exercise; didn’t bring my tripod.

This picture shows how close and how fast the kite (white blur upper right) passed over the hawk’s head. The kite meant business.

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