Hawk attack

I think hawks are generally seen as predatory attack type birds, but they are often on the receiving end, but this is the first time I have heard of tui attacking them.

ODT:  Aerial clash with tui sidelines hawk

As a nearby resident watched, the harrier was soaring in mid-air when “out of the blue, a tui charged him” and “slammed into the harrier so hard” it broke its wing, Dunedin Wildlife Hospital veterinary surgeon Dr Lisa Argilla said.

After the predator “just suddenly dropped out of the sky”, the resident looked after the injured bird overnight on June 29, and contacted the Department of Conservation, which contacted the wildlife hospital at Otago Polytechnic.

Hawks are seen more during the winter down here as they search for food. In a trip to Invercargill last month we counted twenty hawks on the way. They look out for possums, rabbits and other road kill – and cars are one of the biggest risks to them.

I often see a harrier hawk (swamp harrier) cruising along the bush line looking for lunch.

There are a couple of magpies who often chase and attack a passing hawk – I can remember magpie attacks on hawks from my childhood. The magpies can fly much faster, and circle, swoop and dive bomb hawks in flight.

Over the last couple of months we have had frequent visits from a pair of spur winged plovers who like open paddocks. I was working outside last weekend and heard their familiar squawking and wondered what the commotion was about.

There happened to be a hawk cruising by. The plovers took off, gained height and caught up with the hawk and swooped and harassed him for a kilometre or so until they had chased him out of their territory.

So hawks aren’t popular with a few different types of birds.

We have regular tui around here but I have never seen them attacking a hawk – they usually stick to chasing bellbirds (korimako) and each other.

The plovers are quite big, and are relatively recent immigrants from Australia, having first been observed nesting in Invercargill in 1932. They are now widely spread, but I have only recently seen them here.

Magpies are also Australian immigrants, introduced here in the 1860s and 1870s (mainly to control insect pests).

Harrier hawks (kāhu) are widespread throughout Australasia, including New Zealand islands like Chatham Islands, and the Snares, Auckland, Campbell and Kermadec Islands.

17 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  July 15, 2018

    My pukekos have attacked gulls who sometimes land in the stream. All of them will pile into one. They go instantly into shrieking alert mode when black backs fly overhead. It’s because gulls, especially the big black-backed ones, will take their pooklets when they’re small.

    • I have seen magpies attacking hawks across the road.I hope that the hawks gave the magpies something to remember them by.

      The last time that a magpie came here. it was sent on its way with stones and curses and hasn’t returned.

      We have a lot of hawks, and I am sure that the numbers of both hawks and pooks are increasing. It’s not often that a hawk flies over my house, but what a magnificent sight it is when they do and can be seen so close up.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 15, 2018

    A rescued tui was killed by a kingfisher up here when it was released back into the wild. Size is not necessarily the determining factor when dive bombed.

    • Gezza

       /  July 15, 2018

      I’ve seen blackbirds (males & females) attack the tuis around here, chasing them out of the trees at roosting time.

      • Herons eat waxeyes.

        • Gezza

           /  July 15, 2018

          Did you see my post in General Chat yesterday?
          I had FIVE waxeyes in my lemon tree this morning. Yay! 😍

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  July 15, 2018

            I won’t say how many are here every day.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  July 15, 2018

            Do they eat lemons ???

            When I went to GC last night, there was nothing there.

            They like grapefruit.

            Alas, the bowl of multigrain cubes and tangelo halves is still on the bench, as it’s raining and shows no sign of stopping.

            • Gezza

               /  July 15, 2018

              I don’t know if they eat lemons. The still-smallish tree has fruited & is full of lovely yellow fruit at last. Hang on, I’ll go out and see whether the skins of any have been pecked. There were no peck holes or dents in any of the fruit I when I picked some the other day.

            • Gezza

               /  July 15, 2018

              No. There some kind of blemish that looks like hundreds of tiny fawn-coloured insect eggs on a few of the still green ones – but that is very hard, won’t scrape off, & is not actually insect eggs). But there is no sign of any bird pecking at all. I think perhaps they were attracted because the ripe lemons look like very bird-attractive fruit, but that they can detect the bitterness of its citric acid in the skin when they alight on it.

            • I wondered if they ate cut ones. Probably not.

              It was a very proud moment when I took my own first ripe tangeloes to the bird table.

              Look what I have for you ! Off my own tree !

            • Gezza

               /  July 15, 2018

              Thank you Griff. That’s the disease.

  3. It’s a startling sight when a gliding hawk suddenly drops like a stone upon the unlucky prey who would have no chance.

    • Gezza

       /  July 15, 2018

      From my constant, close observations I’ve seen that the ducks & pukekos share the stream & the parengas peacefully in close proximity & will even quite happily feed together, the pooks only getting occasionally irritated by pushy ducks who will hoover up grains they can only peck up one at a time.

      The pooks win any squabbles because they stab at the ducks. Once is enuf.

      But when the ducks lay, & when the ducklings are born, the hens will attack any pukekos who come near – and they win.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  July 15, 2018

        I have heard of ducks carrying off pooklets.

        • Gezza

           /  July 15, 2018

          That might happen. I haven’t seen it. I have seen two big male pukekos (Pooky & Bluey) kill ducklings. Bluey once even presented me with a headless one & seemed puzzled I didn’t make the approving sounds or gestures he was used to. It was distressing but it is nature in the raw & must be accepted. They are not domestic pets, and even domestic pets cannot always be trusted not to attack natural prey.