Moments: Running the Gauntlet

The past couple of weeks, EE and I have been working with a pair of Brown Falcons.

Took about three weeks to really track down where they had a nest, and then another couple of weeks, to be able to have the birds’ confidence to move about in the area.

Well, it seems that she has hatched her brood, and now she has a bit of ‘time’ to do her own hunting.  A shame at one level, as the male was not only reliable, but almost worked his wings off keeping up a steady stream.

Along one line of the paddock is a line of trees, that seem to provide plenty of food for a hunting Brown Falcon, and we’ve noted she’s been sitting in the tops of the trees to hunt, and also keep a ‘falcon’s eye’ on her nest area.
But the same line of trees holds similar opportunities for other species as well.  And now as the younger Australian Magpies from the first clutch of the season are pretty much independant, and more footloose teenagers in a shopping mall, anything that flys past or near is fair game to stretch out the wings in rage and show off flying prowess.

Cassia- named for her rich colour, —of Cinnamon— , decided that some good food opportunities lay just under the low branches, and dropped down to the ground to wander about and see what she might find.

Seriously bad career move!

The local magpies came from four quarters, like screaming banshees. (not that I’ve heard banshees, screaming or otherwise)

Hard for Cassia to get out of the tree line and extend a wing, so they had her pressed against the tree line for a few seconds in the encounter.

Then out across the open paddock with the hoard in full cry behind. Several managed to keep up, and just at the last moment, one made a very close approach, and then she was over the demarcation line and they sailed away back to the trees to caroll to each other about their brave deeds.

She’ll be back over there again I’m sure. A few magpies seem pretty harmless in her quest for food.

Sneak Attack. She must have decided to land on a branch to avoid the onslaught, but they cut her off at every turn.
Out into the open, she can gain some speed to keep them at bay. The magpies have to use a lot of energy to keep up. Cassia is really just at cruising speed, so is not using anywhere near as much energy.
Maggie in hot pursuit
Trying to swing in to put her off her fast straight line
Each wing stroke gains speed.
Coming out of the sun! An attack from a high position. This is just about the end of the territory and they’ve made their point.
I’d like to think she flew by with a “I was in control of that” look, but it was time to check on the baby(s).

15 thoughts on “Moments: Running the Gauntlet

  1. Another amazing picture story with such beautiful clear captures David! I am studying the latest research on the Aussie Magpie at present, and their social structure and sense of family is so strong and there devotion to it so fervent. They spend about four years fledged being trained to learn the ropes of being a Magpie, no wonder they are so intelligent and effective at survival. Your captures are always capturvating to me, your photography is so inspiring my friend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ashley,
      I have a copy of Rowely’s “Bird Life” and one of the chapters is his reseach into the territory work of Magpies.
      Their cleverness and tenacity to the family and territory is quite amazing to ponder.
      As I walk in the morning, I’m always on the look out for how the various street pairs interact and how they have lines of demarkation, both for other magpie families and for other ‘intruder’ species. (including humans 🙂 )
      Hopefully we can learn more of their intricate ways.

      Liked by 1 person

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