Hunters 1 Freeloaders 0, at least that was the score when I left a Crested Goshawk to eat its meal in peace. The crows had to be content with looking
I was at Sim’s Park, Coonoor, after a casual day-drive with my wife and a couple of friends. As I scrambled behind a Black-and-Orange Flycatcher, I heard Nikhil hiss from behind: “Sandy, raptor.”
At first I thought that it was a Shikra (Accipiter badius), the common, sparrowhawk-like raptor. Peering closely, I saw a tiny crest of feathers on its head. This was the Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus), and it was making a meal of a small snake from its perch on a low branch.
|With the kill|
As we watched, it took off from the tree, disturbed by tourists approaching the tree on which it was perched. We thought we had lost it but my wife spotted it on another tree close by, still clutching its prey. We crept up to it from another side and watched the bird as it tore off pieces of the snake with its bill as it stretched itself to full length.
|Snapping the noodles!|
Presently a Large-billed Crow invited itself to the feast. Not keen to share, the goshawk voiced its displeasure with a series of shrieking calls. The crow was persistent and that forced the raptor to take off with its kill and shift base to some peaceful place.
|Sorry, no freeloaders!|
Text and photos by Sandeep Somasekharan