I was checking out a new local ‘wildlife’ park (the kind that is really a token two or three acre strip of original runoff stream that is now surrounded by new housing development) yesterday, hoping to maybe catch some spring feathered migrants.
It was the middle of a hot, fully sunny afternoon so not the best time for such things but I’m trying to get in as much birding before the foliage hides them from my novice eyeballs.
Then suddenly, without sound, comes the oddest looking, little muted brown ‘thing’ zooming by over the creek flying about ten feet over the water right in front of me.
And almost instantly, in comes a large common grackle at high speed and the two entangle and engage in an aerial wrestling match before splitting with the smaller creature escaping upstream with the grackle in pursuit.
By now, of course, I recognize the smaller creature to be:
I wish I had snapped out of my confusion earlier, as this is the best shot I managed to get out of the engagement that lasted maybe ten seconds in total.
As discussed here before, I had a Grackle last summer at our feeder that took to decapitating young house sparrows and eating their brains, so I figured somehow this battle I witnessed was another opportunistic attempt by these large aggressive birds.
I thought I’d ask here if anybody else has witnessed broad daylight interactions between birds and bats.
It’s funny how your observing mind goes off the trail when it suddenly encounters unexpected sights. It’s like you’ve cracked a filter or something.
I don’t honestly know the final outcome of this battle. I was desperately trying to focus as they flew downstream but I did see the spot that was the grackle eventually perch in distance branches but I couldn’t tell if he caught his target prey.
EDIT: I actually DID catch the final seconds of the pursuit. It’s posted as a low frame animated GIF (highly cropped) in the observation – the second picture.
(The bat escaped capture!)