When scientist Pat Gaines heard a scream of a hawk while at Bonny Lake State Park in the Colorado and Kansas border, he looked up to see this amazing spectacle: a kingbird relentlessly attacking a red-tailed hawk several times its size!
Gaines had focused his camera on one red-tailed hawk because the bird had been screaming. As he followed the hawk across the sky, a kingbird dive-bombed the hawk.
The hawk, which is not a predator of the kingbird, flew as fast as it could from the kingbird. For a moment it appeared the kingbird had stopped attacking. But then it began the pursuit again and — to Gaines amazement — landed on the hapless red-tail’s back.
“He rode the hawk for 25 yards. The hawk was not trying to fight back — it was just trying to get out of there,” said Gaines.
As the kingbird rode bareback on the hawk, it pecked away at the hawk’s head.
“They (the kingbirds) are not afraid of anything,” said Gaines. “Until this happened, I had never seen one perch on a hawk’s back.”