[Tweeters] Male Harrier Harrassing Coyote

mary hrudkaj mch1096 at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 26 07:43:27 PDT 2015

This past Tuesday along Old Vantage Road was an interesting day for watching bird behaviour. Just west of the west end of the state park land my passenger, a budding birder, saw a male harrier bounding down at a coyote. We pulled over and watched as the harrier slowly and repeatedly attacked a coyote that had strayed too near a presumed harrier nest on a small rocky outcrop on the south side of the road. As the harrier drove away the coyote they both moved out of sight so we moved and refound them again. The coyote would run a few feet, pause, look back for the harrier and then move again as the harrier kept going down to the coyotes back half. The harried would come down and then fly up just out of the coyote's reach. The coyote finally headed over the ridge leaving the harrier and the nest far behind. It was like being on site while someone was filming a wildlife documentary. The 'show' lasted about five minutes before the harrier felt safe and the coyote was gone.

We also stopped at the Quilomene refuge lot (one with the corral) to listen for sage species and to watch the bluebirds. There were a pair of mountain bluebirds perched on the fence. The male came down to peck at gravel or an insect then flew back to the fence with the female. The female flew off and then the male did the weirdest thing. We were sitting in a red SUV with the front windows rolled down. The male came to the passenger site doorpost then to the passenger side window and hovered for several seconds. He moved again to the door post then back to the passenger window. After hovering a few more seconds he slowly hovered his way across the windshield area then to the driver's side and hovered outside the driver's window for a few seconds before flying off. The whole time he was looking in the car windows at us. As we were facing north there was the possibility he was looking at his reflection but with the windows rolled down he was looking at us. He seemed to keep eye contact the whole time outside the car. This encounter lasted at least 30 seconds. To say the least it is one of those moments in birding we'll both remember forever.

Hope your birding adventures are all as amazing as ours was.

Mary Hrudkaj

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