I observed a true Birding Drama this morning, Wednesday March 1. At about
8 AM, I saw a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK attempt to make a meal of a male PILEATED
WOODPECKER. The hawk made repeated passes at the woodpecker, which was
very adept at evading the attack by quick lateral moves around the trunk of
the tree. The hawk would make a tight, acrobatic turn around the tree, but
not quite tight enough to score a hit.
Occasionally the woodpecker would fly to another tree, which gave the hawk
an opportunity to catch it in the air. The PILEATED was almost as
acrobatic as the SHARPIE, however, and the chase went on in the near edge
of the woods behind our house and those of the next two neighbors. After a
good 15 minutes the PILEATED was joined by his mate, and now the SHARPIE
had two targets. This gave the woodpeckers some rest, but none for the hawk.
The attacks continued, directed at one woodpecker for awhile, then at the
other. I'm sure there were at least 50 passes all together. Finally,
after another 15 minutes, the hawk gave up and flew off.
The two woodpeckers, apparently not as terrified as one might think, waited
for only a minute, then flew to the suet feeder on a Pitch Pine up close to
our house, and grabbed a few high-energy bites. You'd almost think they
had enjoyed the game!
I wish the SHARPIE good luck, but I'm very glad that we didn't lose one of
our PILEATED WOODPECKERs. There are plenty of STARLINGs and MOURNING DOVEs