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Sparrow buzzing an Eagle? What gives here? Does anyone know about this behavior?


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I was taking pictures of an Eagle pair in a tree today, not near their own nest but out and about hunting I suspect. All of a sudden a sparrow came close and started 'hovering' nearby. Then the sparrow started flying right into the Eagle pair and the Eagles decided to leave. In this picture, the sparrow is flying right past the Eagle's head. After this picture the Sparrow stayed with the top Eagle for quite a distance as they two flew away. Taken today, January 21st at Southwest Washington State at the Ridgefield Wildlife Preserve. Does anyone have any comment or idea of what goes on with this behavior? The Sparrow was not attacking but I don't really know what was going on... Thanks for any insight into this behavior...
 

sparrow_flies_right_by_eagle_4905-Edit-Edit copy.jpg

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I wish that I had my camera with me the day I saw a hummingbird chasing a turkey Vulture across my yard here on the Oregon Coast.  Lots of birds , big and small chase each other. Nice photo you have there. 

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1 hour ago, BigOly said:

I wish that I had my camera with me the day I saw a hummingbird chasing a turkey Vulture across my yard here on the Oregon Coast.  Lots of birds , big and small chase each other. Nice photo you have there. 

Okay, I was suspecting... Both Eagles in a pair took off when the sparrow started hovering and then getting closer... like it was bugging them, just being a pest. Even after the Eagle takes off the sparrow continues to 'be a part of' what is going on...
 

sparrow_stays_with_the_eagle_as_eagle_takes_off_4909-Edit-Edit-Edit copy.jpg

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Birds often attempt to drive off potential threats, including larger birds.  Sometimes individual birds will do it, often smaller birds will 'mob' a larger one.  It's quite common during breeding, when the smaller bird is defending the territory around its nest.

Does anyone else think the smaller bird is something other than a sparrow?  @Ken Nielsen, did you get a better look at it than what these photos show us?

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7 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Birds often attempt to drive off potential threats, including larger birds.  Sometimes individual birds will do it, often smaller birds will 'mob' a larger one.  It's quite common during breeding, when the smaller bird is defending the territory around its nest.

Does anyone else think the smaller bird is something other than a sparrow?  @Ken Nielsen, did you get a better look at it than what these photos show us?

The small bird gives me the impression of a Yellow-rump.

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10 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Birds often attempt to drive off potential threats, including larger birds.  Sometimes individual birds will do it, often smaller birds will 'mob' a larger one.  It's quite common during breeding, when the smaller bird is defending the territory around its nest.

Does anyone else think the smaller bird is something other than a sparrow?  @Ken Nielsen, did you get a better look at it than what these photos show us?

Yes, I will post a better picture, not perfect, but better than the small shown here...
 

Screen Shot 2022-01-22 at 12.11.43 PM.png

Edited by Ken Nielsen
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31 minutes ago, Ken Nielsen said:

heroic defending of family by the little Yellow-rumped Warbler

While defending the family is ONE reason smaller birds strafe larger ones, it isn't the only one.  I think Yellow-rumpeds don't start breeding for several weeks yet.  I could have been trying to run off a potential threat in self-defense.

Nice shot of the tactical retreat!

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8 hours ago, Aidan B said:

The small bird gives me the impression of a Yellow-rump.

Same.

5 hours ago, Ken Nielsen said:

One more of little bird then 'Yellow-rump' it is... Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler is what I find in this range, southwestern Washington in the winter.
 

Screen Shot 2022-01-22 at 12.47.03 PM.png

Yes, yellow rumped warbler. 

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On 1/22/2022 at 2:20 PM, Charlie Spencer said:

While defending the family is ONE reason smaller birds strafe larger ones, it isn't the only one.  I think Yellow-rumpeds don't start breeding for several weeks yet.  I could have been trying to run off a potential threat in self-defense.

Nice shot of the tactical retreat!

Thanks for filling in on the other 'more possible' reason for the 'strafe' and learning a new word there also. Good group. Thank You!

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