Crow Defense Includes Whiffling

Cooper’s Hawk Flies Upside Down!

As we were heading back to the car after a beautiful morning at Greene Valley Forest Preserve Birding Buddy Mark and I looked up to see two Cooper’s Hawks.  And a Crow.  In fact the Crow was harassing the hawks as they glided on by.  I raised my camera and started snapping off pictures even though they were quite a distance away from us.  A couple of days later I starting going through the pictures and I was shocked to see this:

That is one of the Cooper’s Hawks but it is flying UPSIDE DOWN!  I’d never heard of that but I wondered if anyone else had so I Googled “hawk flies upside down” and lo and behold it’s a thing – Whiffling.  A wide variety of birds, including Raptors, Great Blue Herons, Plovers, and Tern can Whiffle.  There are several reasons why a bird would Whiffle including Courtship Display, performing an evasive maneuver, and decelerating and dropping to the ground quickly.  Another reason for Whiffling was shown by our Coops below:

In this case the Cooper’s Hawk is being harassed by the Crow and is Whiffling to present its talons for defense.  The Crow flew off after this and the hawk continued gliding on by:

How lucky was that?  Pictures of birds Whiffling are quite rare and I was lucky enough to get a couple!

Stay Safe.  Go Birding.  Take Pics. Share Here.  Repeat.


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