Who would win in a fight between a Cooper’s Hawk and a Barred Owl? Hold that thought. Now imagine it’s two owls versus one hawk. Okay, proceed.
Two nights ago, I had just finished some mowing when I heard a Barred Owl not too far away. Then I heard another, so I started recording them on my smartphone. What followed was one of the coolest wildlife spectacles I’ve ever experienced. Here’s the audio:
As soon as I started recording, it was clear that my local Cooper’s Hawk was none too happy with these Barred Owls. I don’t know what actually started the skirmish. Perhaps the owls had gotten a bit too close to the accipiter’s nest? Maybe it was the Coop who instigated the problem, by perhaps nabbing a fledgling owl? I just can’t say.
What I can say is that the animosity between hawk and owl escalated to crashing through the branches, so they were really going after each other. Ultimately picture this: The Cooper’s Hawk erupted from the trees on top of one of the owls. It had the owl gripped by the back of the head and threw it down to the ground – right in front of me – before “kekekekek”-ing one last time and flying off. The beaten owl sat on my lawn for a few moments to regain its composure and then flew off with the other owl.
This was a vicious throw-down. Barred Owls are no wimps but from where I stood, a lone female Cooper’s Hawk triumphed over two of them, and for all I know mortally wounded one in the process. I’ll provide any updates I can as warranted. . .