A Three-pronged Attack

Two days ago, just after noon, a blue jay began to shriek from a treeline behind our Littleton house.  He was soon joined by three other jays and I assumed that their frantic cries were triggered by an owl, a hawk or a cat.  Indeed, blue jays are the watchdogs for many neighborhoods across the country, aggressively chasing raptors and other predators from their territory.

In this case, the jays were soon joined by a pair of robins and a few broad-tailed hummingbirds; the whistling calls of the latter tiny birds, while well-intended, were a bit comical.  Unable to see the agent of their distress, I walked past the corner of the house to get a better look.  Suddenly, a sharp-shinned hawk bolted from a stand of lilacs, no victim in his talons.  As he made a beeline for one of our larger Siberian elms, the jays, robins and hummingbirds joined in pursuit, calling as they trailed the accipiter.

After perching in the elm for a few minutes, tormented by his noisy pursuers, the sharpie flew beyond the limits of our farm.  Chasing him from the property, the courageous defenders then re-convened at the site of the initial threat, basking in the glory of their successful attack.