When Aldo the American Kestrel was perched outside in the backyard last week, he instantly made a few enemies. Our local robin pair swooped down low over Aldo’s head. They flew back and forth, chattering and flicking their tails along the perimeter of the yard. What did poor Aldo do to deserve such an attack? His crime was being a bird-eater too close to the robin nest.
Many songbirds are known to mob, or dive-bomb, raptors. Sometimes they will even come close enough to knock the bigger bird on the head or nip at their tail feathers as they fly away. It seems like a dangerous game, but they do it to protect themselves and their families. They take the risk in order to chase off a dangerous predator from the neighborhood.
Aldo’s charm and cute face could not fool the robins. He was a threat to their babies that recently fledged out of the nest so they were very persistent in their assault. I soon brought Aldo back inside for some peace and quiet.