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One of the most fascinating moments of my recent trip to Florida happened on my last morning there. I had been debating whether I should sleep in and skip shooting since I had to be at the airport at noon. Instead I dragged myself out of bed nice and early and got to the burrow before sunrise.

It was a good decision!

Mockingbirds are frequent visitors to the burrows and they live up to their name....constantly swooping down on the owls and annoying them at every chance they get . They also follow the owls while they are hunting and often take-over favourite perches. They come in groups and quickly ruin the calm environment with their loud calls and almost "malicious" behaviour. (Despite all of that, I really like them!)

I watched as five mockingbirds arrived and started "mocking" the owls and I was beginning to get concerned that the owlets could be harmed by the annoying and persistent birds. As that thought ran through my head....I saw one of the mb's swoop down and the male owl launched himself into the air, flipped upside down and landed with the mockingbird in his talons about 10 feet away from me. I quietly moved back another 5 feet so that I could take some shots and was cursing myself for leaving my other camera and 100-400mm in the car across the street.

Instantly the injured mockingbird started making loud screeching sounds and flailing around trying to get away. His friends started dive-bombing the owl trying to peck him and grab onto him so he would release his prey. One in particular was obviously distressed (maybe the injured birds mate?) The owl stood his ground and continued to hold and kill the mockingbird. He didn't go easy.
Nobody I've talked to in Cape Coral has ever seen this behaviour, even the CCFW or volunteers. It was one of those lucky sightings that I'll probably never witness again.

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