Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chasing down the predator

I followed a furious blast of robin-noise this morning, and caught sight of three robins chasing a sparrow hawk. The hawk silently darted on arrow-wings around the corner of the house and swiftly was out of sight, the robins following behind. Chicks are fledging now, and will soon be making their first forays out of the nest. These babies are vulnerable. The parents know it, and so do the predators. Hence, the angry, noisy parents.

Then I got to thinking; three robins? Robins nest in pairs, and are territorial. What bird was the third? Sure enough, I googled it, and I found out that robin parents will collaborate to chase a predator out of territory. Makes perfect sense to me.

I noted also that predators, though noisy at other times, (the sweet whistle of the sparrow hawk and the raucous calls of the magpie come to mind) are deadly silent when on the hunt.

The lessons for us in all this? Feel free to call on your neighbour to repel a common threat. Watch out when predators go quiet.