Yesterday I watched a sharp shinned hawk repeatedly try to nab a pileated
woodpecker. The hawk would only engage the woodpecker when it was flying
(which I thought a bit odd since I would think the exposed back of the WP on
a tree a reasonable target), but every time the woodpecker would fly to a
different tree the sharpie would try to grab it. The wingspan of the
woodpecker seemed at least that of the sharpie and I can't imagine either
bird would have gone anywhere but down had the sharpie actually grabbed its
quarry. Although I did not see any feathers fly, the sharpie appeared to
hit the woodpecker at least twice. The pileated seemed no worse for the
wear when it came back to my suet and
peanut feeders later in the day.
I saw a Coopers hawk engage a pileated last year, but in that encounter,
the hawk seemed less serious about actually grabbing the pileated.
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