Friday, July 4, 2008

Mobbing of Brown Hawk Owl

Location : Dehradun(India)
Date : 2 July 2008

The loud noises of flocks of birds outside my room captured my attention.It's not that birds do not make noises throughout the day in my backyard , but this time it seemed as if they were perturbed by some unusual factor.It was about noon time and I went out in the cemented area of my backyard to check out what was wrong.

Flocks of Jungle Babblers (Turdoides striata ) , Red-Vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus cafer) , White-Eared Bulbuls (Pycnonotus leucotis) , Oriental White-Eyes (Zosterops palpebrosus) ,Oriental Magpie Robins (Copsychus saularis) were surrounding the 'subdued' Brown Hawk Owl (Ninox scutulata) who was perched on the uppermost branch of the Litchi tree (Litchi chinensis). Even the 'rarely seen' Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi) and the 'never seen before' Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus) appeared on the scene and tried attacking the owl . The Jungle Babblers did most of the work by making a large amount of noises which seemed to perturb the owl.

The Birds were mobbing it relentlessly and mercilessly throught my 30 minutes of observation , dancing round the hapless , commoved owl , taking turns to jab and jeer at it from all directions. The owl in turn followed this menacing display increasing irritation , swiveling its head all 270 degrees to keep a track on the movements of the birds. It seemed to have been overpowered by the birds,who were united towards their cause. There was a point when the Owl almost lost its balance trying to defend its perch. In the end , the birds were successful in driving away the hapless creaure from the area.The owl flew across to the Bamboo groves and hid itself behind the thick leaves,indicating its presence by calling out its peculiar sound " oo-uk.....oooo-uk ".

The Mobbing of Predator birds seems to be a fairly common occurence in India where Owls are plentiful and are often mobbed by other smaller birds especially while roosting during the day.

1 comment:

  1. We have the same thing here in the USA, with crows, robins, and grackles mobbing red-tailed hawks and other raptor--sometimes in the trees and sometimes in mid-air!


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