It is not often that I wait for a city bus and hope that it is late. But this is what happened a few days ago as I stood waiting for a 5:15 evening bus.
At about 5:12 I noticed a commotion in the sky. I was about three minutes from the harbour as the bird flies. Overhead, above some low-rise building,s was an eagle being chased by four crows. I have seen this before, and understand that the crow risks its life by swooping too close to the eagle. I assume the crow knows this also, and no doubt those swoops toward the large bird are some safe distance. However, an eagle is a fast bird of prey, and can move at speed. So, although from my angle, the dive bombing crows (and they each took their turns) appeared to be within a wing-length of the eagle, perhaps they did not.
However, the odd situation – which I have never seen before – was that above the circling and diving crows were three seagulls. And they were also taking their turns swooping down toward the eagle. It was a bit like an Aerial dogfight, with the black birds keeping a similar distance from the eagle, while the white birds would occasionally come down to the level of the crows and take a charge at the eagle. I have no idea if the crows and seagulls were coordinating their attacks, but they did not get into each others way. The eagle did little more than keep a steady and straight flight.
Of course, this time the bus was on time, and I didn’t want to wait an additional half hour. Generally, the smaller birds will eventually go their own way as long as they have chased the eagle from the area. I assume this is what happened. But what if I missed a more coordinated attack, with all birds in tandem against the eagle, and an explosion of feathers? Did the bird of prey end up praying?
(image) http://www.dw.com/image/0,,16251705_303,00.jpg