Hawks hunting, funning or what?

To: Canberra Birds <>
Subject: Hawks hunting, funning or what?
From: John Layton <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2016 06:30:09 +0000

Some of you may have witnessed behaviour similar to the following, nonetheless it seems too interesting to let go without mention.

While sun-soaking in the backyard at 10 o’clock this morning my peaceful reverie suddenly dissipated when a cacatua cacophony sundered the Sunday morning somnolence as scores of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos came welling up from beyond the horizon. While legions of large white birds barrelled overhead, smaller flocks of up to fifty materialised from the landscape and rose to join the masses, adding their cries to the cocky rock opera.

Habit, honed by past experience, had me scanning the sky for a catalyst driving this avian angst. And pretty soon I found it, a Brown Goshawk ( an educated guess more than anything) was descending through the throng in what may have been a fell stoop. But I can’t decide how the hawk’s behaviour should be described, or its purpose. It seemed to make no attempt to pursue or attack. Was it utterly confused by the surrounding hurly-burly? Was it intent on creating mayhem which might cause one of the flock to blunder into the  reaches of a second hawk that was cruising back and forth a little up-sun i.e. between the flock and the sun?

Maybe one of the hawks was a teacher, one a learner?  I seem to remember it’s approaching that time of season when the young of local Brown Goshawks disperse to establish territories of their own. (?)

Within a couple of minutes the mob had passed overhead and, as the tumult and the shouting died, groups broke away and descended out of sight as peace returned to the azure summer morning skies of West Belconnen.

Another thought, perhaps the hawks were indulging in a little nefarious fun?  Rather like campus cops cooling down a crowd of arts undergrads with water cannon. J


John Layton



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