Moments: The Stakes are High

The continuing saga of the Brown Falcon at nest.

She had come out to meet her mate for a food exchange.  Where this is actually taking place, and where she is dining is a bit of a mystery to me, as the surrounding thick pine trees block any view once they come down to the tree-line.
But once she has fed, she seems to favour a perch near the nest, I guess to keep an eye on what’s happening, and also to preen.

However, the same tree also is close to a Willie Wagtail nursery.  And both Willies came out in force to make the point she is not welcome. Gotta give Willies “A” for pluck.
If after the usual flyby chatter doesn’t work, then its time for  hands on aggression, as the male found out as he was returning with the food.
Willie attached to his back and proceeded to peck his head as both flew past.
Then when she returned they began in earnest to move her along.

The stakes are high for both birds, so it’s the immovable object verses the irresistible force.  And in the end, the Falcon will give ground.

High drama for both birds, the wagtails with their young charges to protect, and the Falcon with her commitment to the yet to be hatched egg.

Here is the moment by moment action.

Willie desperate to attach to the back of the male coming in with a small bird for food.
Once attached, the little bird pecks away incessantly at the male’s head. What is important to note is he is carrying a small bird, probably a pipit, so it’s a super bold move by Willie
Just when you settle down for a rest, the noisy neighbours start up.

Eventually both of the pair moved in to keep the Falcon unsettled.
And just when she might have thought things were settling down, the local Black Kites joined in the foray
Defence pose on the Kites. They are likely to rob him of any food he is delivering if they can get a decent run, which maybe why they are secretive in the exchange

7 thoughts on “Moments: The Stakes are High

  1. Absolutely brilliant photographic story with superb narrative David. Wow, you could publish a coffee table or even children’s book with your captures. I love how you have such clarity, they are almost like pure art, a real credit to your professional experience. I am always impressed and in awe of your photographic skills. Yes the Willies are amazing survivors and take on anything to protect the nest. Interesting, I mention the and witnessed the tensions at this time in my latest post I just now posted. It is so noticeable with many birds nesting in close vicinity, and some omnivorous, that there will be tension throughout Spring, especially near fresh water and food sources. Thanks again David, cold windy weather abates soon for you. 🙂

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  2. An amazing documentation of the conflict, David! The Willies sure have some courage. The shot of Willie ‘surfing’ the male Falcon is incredible! A stunning sequence!

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    1. Thanks David, Glad you enjoyed, Willies seem to have such pluck for so tiny a bird. I’ve only ever seen one Wagtail get taken by a Kestrel, they had annoyed him as he rested after a hunt, and in the end, he settled on a black and white snack. 🙂

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  3. I think it’s unnecessary to try hard to add anything to the previous comments. I’ve always known that Willies are fearless and fierce little birds and I respect them in all their cuteness. Your photos and story are the highlight of my day as it nears to its end. Thank you, David.

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