Jul 25 2011

I Don’t Care How Big You Are!

Published by at 7:20 am under Bird Behavior


Steve Valasek and his family visited Pittsburgh last month and spent some time at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  While there they saw an amazing episode at the African Savannah exhibit

Steve wrote, “A male Red-Winged Blackbird was attacking an Ostrich in the enclosure.  The bird would land on the Ostrich’s back and peck or pull its feathers.  There was a female Blackbird around too, so I’m assuming that there was a nest nearby.”

Whatever the cause, I can tell the blackbird is angry.  Look at his red shoulders!

Zoom!  The blackbird attacks the ostrich. 

The ostrich takes a few steps but not enough.  The blackbird attacks from behind…

…then circles back for another attack.

Victory!  The blackbird lands on the ostrich while his mate watches from above.

 “I don’t care how big you are!” says the blackbird, “Get out of here!”  

The blackbird won the battle but not the war.  The ostrich isn’t going to leave the enclosure. 

Fortunately the ostrich was merely annoyed.

For Steve’s entire photo sequence, click here.

(photos by Steve Valasek)

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “I Don’t Care How Big You Are!”

  1. Jennieon 25 Jul 2011 at 7:40 am

    Wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing, Steve. Let’s hope they can come to some sort of understanding. :-)

  2. Peteron 25 Jul 2011 at 4:42 pm

    What a great series. The smaller the bird, the bigger the tantrum. For comparison, a couple months back a few crows were bothered by the local juvie red-tail. Their method…sit a few branches away and just make a racket, which they’re very good at. This blackbird (like the robins after Yellow Girl last month) thinks its such a big deal and really the big bird couldn’t care less.

  3. Marjorie Van Tasselon 26 Jul 2011 at 12:19 am

    Those red-wings are feisty birds!! Up at Shawnee State Park in a “double” marsh there were several Great Blue Herons on a small strip of land and they would wander out into the water near the reeds but there were a few red-wing males that became very upset when they got too close to the reeds (probably nest or two in there) and I had a fair photo of one red-wing that looks like it was going to either kiss the herons beak/bill or bite it. Funny interaction–love the photos above, and great story!! Thanks Steve and Kate…

  4. kellyon 27 Jul 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I love the first photo. The unsuspecting “no worries” expression of the ostrich together with the impending fury of the wee blackbird…it’s great.

  5. Steve-oon 27 Jul 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Now here is something funny. I was at a local park today (in New Mexico) and there was a pair of RWBBs there. And some hummingbirds were sharing the tree with them and the RWBBs were doing nothing to them! So it must be a size issue? Or maybe the Blackbirds didn’t have a nest? I had my daughter with me instead of my camera, but I plan on going back early Saturday to take pics of the amazing wildlife in this suburban park, right across the street from Intel.
    I’m not fluent on my hummingbirds yet, but there were at least 2 different types, and none of them were the usual black-chins that we get. We also saw a Cooper’s Hawk flying between some houses. That has to be our most popular raptor out here, we see them 10x as often as anything else.

  6. kellyon 27 Jul 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I meant to write “wee, but mighty”.

  7. kellyon 28 Jul 2011 at 10:24 am

    Wee and mitey, to the ostrich.

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