Ever Been Dive Bombed By A Raptor?

  • Ever been dive bombed by a raptor? Just returned from my morning walk. Noticed a Cooper's Hawk on the ground by the irrigation canal so paused momentarily to check it out. Heard a keening from somewhere behind me. Turned about to see where it might be but alas, could not source it. Visually at least. Became aware said keening was growing louder. Real quick like. Freakin' finally saw it at about ten or fifteen feet, coming out of the sun straight at me. Waved my arms to wave it off but it was not easily intimidated and was w/in a couple feet before it veered away. Made several more passes within three to five feet - close enough that you just see wings and talons and not really taking in the entire bird. Waved my hat at it and "escalated" to telling it to leave me the fuck alone. It was not intimidated. Knew I needed to "move on" but also did not want to turn my back on it. I walked a good twenty or thirty feet before it decided I was no longer a threat. Kept an eye on me from atop a nearby pine tree. As I did it. At least until I turned the corner onto my street and put some houses between our mutual sight lines.

    Figure it must have been protecting/defending something. Maybe a fledgling? The one I was observing at the canal's edge was a mature bird. The one dive bombing me was large but also seemed a "darker form". Or maybe just optical delusion from being so up close and personal. Was not really focused on sussing that bit out, more on those damned talons coming at me.

    I was walking on a paved road in a residential district sporting some pretty tall older trees. And since ID is a big agriculture state, the sub/urban sprawl is built around the irrigation canals. Heh, my heart rate is still thumpin'. Glad I was Off Belay. 🐕

  • @toby Now there's an experience! I wonder if the one on the ground was injured and the other defending it?

  • I have not suffered more than knowing that Cooper's hawks can be super-aggressive at defending a nest, & having them scream at me from a few hundred feet away. I have climbing pals that have been dive-bombed by Cooper's at City of Rocks.

  • We have plenty of raptors here. Eagles, Ospreys, Ravens, Turkey Vultures. They are above us all the time. But aside from the ravens shredding the bags on garbage day, they don't really have much of an impact on our lives.

  • Just back from my evening walk. Ran into a "neighbor" who lives across from the area I described this morning so I related the story. Turns out he's been dive bombed a few times now by same. Recently I guess it snatched his hat, dropped it, and made a couple more passes close enough that he "felt the wind" from its wings. Wistfully wishes it would nail the rabbit poaching their garden goodies. We have a lot of quail and dove hereabouts, grackles, lbb's, etc. Boise is expanding outward like a red giant and converting farmland into sub divisions as fast as they can throw them up. Hence I suspect habitat destruction may well be increasing pressure on hunting grounds and territorial behavior.

    A bit of research, courtesey Wikipedia's Cooper's Hawk page:

    Cooper's hawks are known as bold and aggressive predators.

    I definitely concur w/the aggressive bit and would add persistent. I cannot imagine what I'd done if on the sharp end, especially pre helmet days. Maybe just tuck in close to the rock and hang on? And before you write me off as cowardly, even a "medium sized hawk" makes a pretty significant impression when swooping down on you out of the sun and coming within three or four feet before pulling out, only to follow up with several more passes. 🦅

  • I have been dive bombed by a mocking bird in San Diego and a hawk was very intently scoping out my Yorkie in La Crescenta. It did not attack though.

    Here is an old article on mocking birds actually targeting specific people.


  • Hmmm can't recall anything special however swallows have been at me several times. One was on the Leaning Tower in a crack and I had no where to go. I was mid placement. It was like some Frankenstein wiggling its way toward me then BAM right in my face. Had a similar encounter in Eldo don't remember the route. But it was the same thing. It was like Monty Python! Bastard!



  • Perigan falcons are a thing around here. I got bombed pretty good hand drilling this bolt. bailed as soon as the bolt was in . Came back in late august to finish.
    264508_15807_XL.jpg You can see the speck up there in the sky where she is lining up for another gun run at my head..

  • Sitting in a deer stand just before the first light from the morning sun, I was listening to a Great Horned Owl calling, not far in the distance. The “who-hoo-ho-oo” is a wonderful sound and that is all I was thinking about.

    A few minutes later the sun was playing tricks on my eyes, I wasn’t sure if I could see nearby branches or just imagining it. I raised my gloved hand for a better chance of determining the amount of light.

    About that time I see this huge mass gliding down into my face. I put my hands up and turned my head, just in time to steer the owl’s talons away from my face. It swooped away, but its out- stretched wings brushed my head.

    It took me several minutes to piece together what actually happened. My entire face was covered except for a slit for my eyes, my hands were gloved and I believe the owl saw my exposed flesh and thought I was fair game.

    All I could think about was those long, bone crushing talons going in my eye sockets and him trying to steal my face. Those talons have the power to crush at about 300 lb/in2.


  • @NickG
    Great pic!

  • @Tobia Yes, seeing an owl's talons up close is a sight you will never forget.

  • @David-Harris
    No doubt.
    I have these two talons on my mantle, the larger of the two are from a juvenile Great Horned owl and the smaller are from a juvenile Red Tailed hawk, both from road kill that I freeze dried after finding them when running.

    We lose more owls to vehicular homicide than natural death.

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