Birdwatching Term – Mobbing


Crow on Eagles Back ©©

Maybe A Little Too Close – Crow on Eagles Back ©©

Birdwatching Term – Mobbing

In the recent article, The Old Orchard Bully – Chapter 2, the whole group of birds united to chase off the Black Cat. That is called, “mobbing.”

Some ask why don’t the bigger birds fight back? Here are a few quotes from various sources:

“This behavior – like calling your family for help – is used by many bird species. The best time to observe mobbing is spring and early summer, when breeding birds are trying to protect their nests and young. Birds including swallows, blackbirds, and even these American Crows, seen here mobbing a Red-tailed Hawk, know that there is strength and power in numbers. And they’ve learned to join forces to protect themselves. Be sure to watch the video!”

Quote from Why Don’t Hawks Fight Back? :All agreed that if a red-tailed hawk reached out and grabbed a crow with its talons, that would be the end of the crow. Or as one of the professionals put it, in scientific terms, “the crow would be toast.” But although large raptors have the necessary weapons, the energy cost of pursuing or otherwise attempting to catch a crow is normally not worth it. Crows are agile creatures and would be very difficult to catch in flight. So a hawk typically ignores the crows or flies away.”

A Great Horned Owl being mobbed!


Just as the Lord helps His Created critters, the Lord gives us promises about seeking His help:

But the LORD your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” (2 Kings 17:39 NKJV)

Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies. (Psalms 60:11-12 NKJV)

I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed. (Psalms 18:37 NKJV)

O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. (Psalms 25:2 NKJV)

My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. (Psalms 31:15 NKJV)

For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, And praise Your name forever. Selah (Psalms 44:6-8 NKJV)

Some interesting links about mobbing:

Why Don’t The Crows Fight Back? – Savannah River Ecology Lab

Small Birds Mob Big Ones – Bird Note, with audio

Mobbing – RSPB

The Superb Fairywren – The Corporate Mob ~ by a j mithra

Birdwatching Terms

Birdwatching Tips 

Watching Birds

Wordless Birds



3 thoughts on “Birdwatching Term – Mobbing

  1. I observed this behavior in my backyard several years ago. I heard a mockingbird just raising a ruckus atop a large ash tree that grew in my backyard. Soon there was two, and one flew off and returned with a third. Then another flew off and returned with a fourth. Soon there where half a dozen mockingbirds just carrying on, flying in and out of the ash tree. I looked up in the tree, and (because of old eyes) could not the cause of their displeasure. I went into my house and retrieve my binocular to get a closer look, and then I saw it. It was a juvenile hawk (not sure what species) but it wasn’t long before the young hawk decided to leave his roost trailed by a long string of mockingbirds. I was impressed by how those little guys came together to chase off a common enemy. Good job! :)


  2. Thanks for the report, Ernie! As a grandfather myself, my eyes also need help reading and watching birds, so I’m glad that binoculars and reading glasses were invented generations ago. Years ago, when my family moved to our present home, we learned that our backdoor-accessed patio housed some nesting swallows; those swallows would mob our son whenever he used the back door. It really rattled him! (For years thereafter we enjoyed watching the swallows raise their young, there, each spring and summer, but the swallow family eventually emigrated to a nearby covered bridge.)
    Anyway, the mobbing videos were fun to watch, especially the eagle video — thanks, Lee. Kind of reminded me of the Old Testament champion named Shamgar (Judges 3:31)– who defeated 600 Philistines using only an ox-goad! Superior might or technology doesn’t always determine who will win a battle: courage and wisdom, when blessed by God, can defeat a stronger foe. And the avian technique of mobbing a “bully” (predator) is an instinct that God programmed into these little passerines, for defending their families. : ) P.S., thanks, Dan, for the recent photo of Lee and the wood stork — seen near a human I am reminded how large those storks are!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you both for commenting. We had a Mockingbird that used to dive-bomb us and our dog. Also, Grackles would do the same . Parted my hair once. :)
    Mobbing is sort of like David and Goliath.

    Liked by 1 person

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