Friday, July 12, 2013

Birding Tip: using bird mobs to find predators

A few weeks ago, I was getting out of my car by a friend's house, and heard a group of jays that seem overly agitated in a live oak on the far curb.  I took three steps in their direction, and an adult Cooper's Hawk bolted from the tree, crossed the street right in front of me and rapidly disappeared among neighboring houses.

A week later, the same scenario presented itself at the same tree- this time an immature Cooper's zoomed forth.  (immature Cooper's are the same size as adults, but are brown above and longitudinally streaked below, vs. gray above with fine red barring below).

This is actually a tried and true method of locating predators, including owls.  If you hear birds fussing an abnormal amount, if they seem to be focused on a particular spot, have a look.  It is probably the single best way to find Great Horned Owls in our city- often mobbed by crows.  You may also find mammalian predators and snakes this way.

Good birding,


for a copy of Birding Made Easy- New Orleans, send me an email at, or look for it at the Maple Street or Garden District Book Shops.