Thursday, September 18, 2008

Skywatch Friday: Raven Chasing Redtail Hawk

A Raven chases a Red-tailed Hawk in the sky over Rio Rico, AZ on September 14, 2008.
(click on photos to enlarge for best view)


Notice the relative size of the two birds. The Raven is almost as large as the Red-tailed hawk.


Notice the dark leading edge to the wings of the red-tail. While Red-tailed hawks can have many different color morphs, only red-tails have this. It is known as a "field mark." It is one of the first things I look for when I see a hawk soaring above. Notice how the flight feathers look like "fingers" on the raven.


Look how the birds mirror each other in flight.


Red-tail Hawk: Length 19" wingspan 50" and Common Raven: Length 24" wingspan 53" or Chihuahuan Raven: Length 19.5" wingspan 44"

Common Ravens are usually in mountainous areas and Chihuahuan Ravens in more arid grasslands and brushlands. We were in the San Cayentano Mountains near the Mexican border. The terrain is arid brushlands and grasslands. There were other ravens perched on the utility lines, but only this one raven decided to harass the hawk.


I like this shot of the raven diving feet first at the hawk.


So, what do you think: A Common Raven or a Chihuahuan Raven? I don't think the hawk cares which species it is, it just wants to be left alone!


Click on the link to view more Skywatch Friday photos.

Visit Kathie's Poet Tree to see Idaho Autumn


Photographer's note: All of today's photos were taken by Kathie using the Nikon D80 with the 70-300mm lens set in sports mode. The photos were cropped and enlarged. Most of them were sharpened slightly. One or two were automatically enhanced.

33 comments:

Lynne said...

I'm grinning ear to ear looking at these great pictures Kathie!! Great job.

Lapa37 said...

Wow what a great shot and just full of information. Thanks

Abraham Lincoln said...

I guess the one running (red tail hawk) never bothers to put the brakes on, wheel around, and pull out the stops and press talons to metal and chase the raven off. They should try that sometimes.

I reintroduced Better Blog Writing today but have not been able to do much on it as I pulled a hamstring muscle.

Greyscale Territory said...

What amazing action shots! Love this series symbolising the power of flight!

Photo Cache said...

Love the collection of shots. Nice birdwatching session you had here.

Beth said...

Beautiful pictures as always--you really know your way around that camera. I was just thinking this morning that you hadn't posted in awhile and then.........there you are.

bobbie said...

That is one big raven! I love the way you describe the birds in such detail. Beautiful pictures.

Pretty Life Online said...

Perfect catch for skywatch! Happy weekend! Mine's up too hope you can visit my corner too...

Alan said...

Kathie, these are great! Makes me want to go outside & look for shots like this!

ellen b. said...

Kathie! These shots are just fabulous. I'm always amused when ravens or crows chase these big predators around...

Larry D said...

Great series, excellent info.

Leedra said...

Sometimes it is so much fun to watch one bird chase another, until it gets 'out of hand'.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Very interesting, Kathie. We have hawks here, but I don't know about ravens. 'course, there is the possibility that I wouldn't know one if I saw it! Shame on me!

Great photos and wonderful bird info.

BNS said...

Great collection of photos, and thanks for the interesting information about these birds. You live in a great area for spotting these kinds of raptors. I was visiting in Arizona earlier this year, and I did see a raven, but I can't say which it was. Also enjoyed seeing (and photographing) a ferruginous hawk.

Bobbie in Hawaii

Laura ~Peach~ said...

very pretty pictures I vote for the Hawk :)

Arija said...

They ar doing a spot of really good formation flying with a bit of dive bombing at the end. Well captured Katie.

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

Wowwee! What GREAT shots!!! That hawk looks like he's trying to get outta Dodge real quick. I never knew that ravens were such large birds. We've got some pretty big red-tails here and to think that a raven is almost that big is kinda scary! I don't think I've ever seen a raven in Ohio.

me ann my camera said...

This is a lovely series of the Redtail and the Raven. Ravens often confuse me when I see them flying as they do appear to be so big. I often think I have discovered some hug hawk at first.

Gallicissa said...

This is my favourite Sky Watch sequence in this week!

You were lucky to get them against such a pretty sky.

Anne-Berit said...

Oh my,these are all so very beautiful.Very good pictures,all of them!

kjpweb said...

Fantastic series! Wonderfully done.
It's like Ballet in the air!
Cheers, Klaus

nina said...

We saw lots of Ravens in the NW last week--their size is only appreciated against another large bird as you're finding them.

They were everywhere, landing in parking lots like gulls!
Walking on the backs and tops of all the cars.

Nice SWF.

Lily Hydrangea said...

what a great capture!

Dianne said...

what a wonderful action series!!

Old Wom Tigley said...

A great set of pictures Kathie... I see our Sparrow Hawks being 'mobbed' by Crows at times... and our little Kestrals get chased by smaller birds... it's interesting to watch the flights of both birds when this happens

Celeste said...

Cool sky shots with great points of interest. You should check out http://ramblingwoods.blogspot.com Michelle just did a great posting about hawks too.

Denise said...

Hi Kathie, incredible photos! I have never heard of a Chihuahua Raven before. So beautiful to see the birds with that perfect sky background.

Louise said...

Wonderful, wonderful captures of the sky and birds. I've never seen hawks and ravens flying anywhere near each other, let alone one chase the other. Terrific post.

peppylady said...

Nice picture I tried to get picture of a hawk but no luck.

Mine is up and I have some coffee on.

thebirdersreport said...

Kathie, you have outdone yourself with that super photo series. I gert to see this mobbing behavior all the time where I live in northern California with the red-tails and the crows and ravens. The bald eagles are not immune either! Thanks for that "chase scene"

Wren said...

Great photos, Kathie. Birds in flight can be tricky to capture well.

It's Time to Live... said...

Great images of Red Tail and raven.

Larry said...

fantastic series of photos! I was aware that a Raven is listed as having a bigger wingspan than the tail but I never get that impression when I see a raven. Maybe the all black color makes them aappear smaller than they are.-Great comparison photo.