Field Notes Book: Attack is the Best Stragergy

Open fields and paddocks are of course a mecca for various raptors. Around the Werribee River Park (aka The Office), Black and Whistling Kites, Swamp Harriers and Brown Falcons usually make frequent appearances.
Presently however because of better conditions further north perhaps, there is only a handful of  raptors in the area.

As the Australian Hobby clutch hatched and the young grew, the parents became much more pro-active, and protective of the growing young.  One morning they had several encounters with Swamp Harriers and Whistling Kites.

The female was now sitting out of the nest, high up on well sighted perch. Any raptor that approached recieved a serious warning call, and if that didn’t work, a much louder, more rapid call, that also drove her from the perch in hot pursuit.  The male would arrive, usually from on high, several moments later.

Unlike Peregrines, Hobbies seem to make much more shallow stoops, presumably they cannot really physically attack the much larger Kites, so a game of bobbing across the sky, with quick shallow dives on the intruder is probably to put it off the job in hand, and eventually drive it from the area.

Welcome to the action.

  • Seriously you want to wander into my territory. Go ahead make my day.

  • A Swamp Harrier defending against a stoop

  • Here we go again. She is  rocketing out from among the trees. Warp Speed.

  • A Whistling Kite trying to deal with two attacking Hobbies.

  • Coming out of a stoop must really initiate a powerful ‘g’ force on the body.  From flat out to cruising in the blink of an eye.  You can see the angle of the wings changing and the air breaking over the back as the airflow changes.

  • After all the action has quietened down, the male quickly returned with a  top-up meal.

  • Hopefully see the young next week.