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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(Brooklin, Maine)