Two redtails with crow

On this morning’s dogwalk, I heard a murder of crows cawing loudly from a cluster of backyard pine trees. There were a dozen or more birds flying and calling, but I couldn’t see what was triggering their reaction. The crows were clearly upset, but instead of ganging up against a specific antagonist, their distress was unfocused, as if they sensed danger but couldn’t locate its exact location.

Suddenly a red-tailed hawk zoomed from the opposite side of the street, flying low with a fringe of crows on its tail. And just like that, the cawing stopped: once the hawk had flown out of sight, the crows quieted and returned one by one to the pine they’d claimed as their own: hawk gone, mission accomplished.

I didn’t capture any photos of this morning’s interaction, but years ago I snapped a photo of a single crow harassing a pair of red-tails: an enmity that goes way back.