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Lakeside Cemetery - Kamikaze Oriole

Published June 11, 2012
Tags: General Observations, Baltimore Oriole, Red-Tailed Hawk, Great Blue Heron, Red-headed Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Lakeside Cemetery, Hamburg, NY

I witnessed the most amazing display of either tremendous bravery or complete foolhardiness by a Baltimore Oriole last evening.  I had gone to Lakeside Cemetery in pursuit of the Red-headed Woodpeckers who are reported to be nesting there (no luck).  I was side-tracked by a pair of Red-tailed Hawks who were perched high in an old, large tree towards the back of the cemetery.  One of the pair took off but the other seemed content to be my photographic subject - so I was happy to oblige.

All of a sudden, a flash of orange shot through my lens.  Looking up, I was shocked to see a male Baltimore Oriole dive-bombing the hawk!  How crazy IS that?!  The hawk, surprisingly, didn't seem flustered by this Kamikaze Oriole at all.  She barely seemed to notice it - while the oriole was literally diving at it - and by the appearance in one of the photos - I think he flew right into it.  I didn't see any nest nearby and the hawk didn't seem interested in anything at all.  I can't imagine what possessed that oriole to take on such a formidable foe!
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Baltimore Oriole on the left commences his attack
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Whoosh!
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And again!
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Impact!
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And off he goes...
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Just a mild look over her shoulder was the only acknowlegement she made...
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A Great Blue Heron down by the Rogers Rd. entrance
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I've never seen a heron sitting with its wings folded below it like this.
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I saw this guy driving home: a life-list addition a just few hours earlier
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Eastern Kingbird - today's life-lister!
Reply from: john c kader on 6/13/2012 6:24 PM
 Yes it is always interesting to see these events...have only witnessed red wing blackbirds exhibiting that behavior. And I actually felt a little sorry for the juvenile Red tail. Never thought an Oriole would be that aggressive. Nice capture!