We’re in a clearing and hear the piercing cries of an Osprey: “Cheereek!-Cheereek!-Cheereek!” We look up: no high-soaring Osprey. We look in the nearby trees: no roosting Osprey. The cries persist. There’s movement in a treetop more than a quarter of a mile away. With our long lens, we barely see a defiant Osprey being “mobbed” by at least eight Crows.
This is unusual, at least for us. In our experience, the customary targets of Crow-mobbing are Owls, Hawks, and Eagles. Those raptors kill Crows and mobbing is thought to be a preventative group defense against such attacks. Ospreys, on the other hand, usually eat only fish unless there’s a fish famine, which doesn’t occur here.
Also, those distant Crows don’t seem agitated. They fly in, calmly sit near the Osprey and silently edge even closer along limbs, giving the fish-eater cold stares.
The cursing Osprey refuses to be flushed. After at least a 20-minute performance of Osprey invective, the Crows fly off, seemingly satisfied; the Osprey calmly starts to preen itself, and we move on.