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#68387 - 08/27/07 06:00 AM We have a hawk hanging out
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Literally just hanging out. So far. eek

I have to quit going outside without my glasses on. My husband and I were sitting on the patio yesterday morning and he said, "Oh, one of the chickens is up on the fence and about to jump out to the pasture." Well, we have a few regular "escape artists" so it wasn't any big deal to hear this. And, in fact, I had seen this same scene several times in the past couple of weeks with that bird on the back fence. All the sudden, he says, "It's not a chicken! It's a hawk!" Needless to say, I put two and two together and realized it has been a hawk hanging out back there and I blew it off, thinking it was a chicken. He appears to be young, as he isn't very large yet. I watched him for a few minutes and he was just sitting there on the fence post, preening. My birds have apparently become used to him enough that they weren't reacting with the alarm call. A few of them had stretched out necks, watching him, but that was about it. Ugh!

This morning he was in a tree in my front yard. I expect to see him back on that fence post any minute now, as I realized in retrospect, he is there many mornings.

I'm not wanting to start a "shoot a hawk" argument, so I'm not even going to go there. I'm just bringing this up because I found it interesting. I'm sure he sits there thinking my birds are bigger than him - for now, anyway. I'm just really shocked that he is a regular visitor with no damage so far, and my chickens are used to him. Strange! Maybe not so strange, logically, but definitely something I have never seen happen before! LOL!

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#68388 - 08/27/07 09:01 AM Re: We have a hawk hanging out
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
It will soon be Hawk migration season and we will all (in the northern states) be seeing more hawks. Some are hard to identify in juvenile, in male and female plumage, first year, mature plumage. They hunt as they go, sometimes staying for a while at different locations. We have quite a few that nest in our area and so we see them most every day, somewhere between the farm and town. So few people keep chickens any more, that they do a good job of hunting varmints. But I am the only one, I know of that does not free range my birds any longer. Pheasants and Wild Turkeys seem to be holding their own, very good hatches this year.

Here, Red Tailed Hawks have never bothered our chickens, in other places in the country, they will. During migration, large hawks have landed on posts in my yard, even on the netting over outside pens--very bold (hungry) but they do not stay, are on their way South! Hope your hawk is a "temporary", Susie, and will move on without having a chicken dinner!! CJR

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#68389 - 08/27/07 03:59 PM Re: We have a hawk hanging out
Rogo16 Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 439
Loc: Arizona
Wild birds are full grown when they leave the nest, altho they may fill out more.
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#68390 - 08/28/07 05:18 AM Re: We have a hawk hanging out
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Quote:
Originally posted by Rogo16:
Wild birds are full grown when they leave the nest, altho they may fill out more.
Yes, he's not very filled out and appears to be a juvenile. I actually thought he was one of our buttercups, and the size isn't much different. But he stretched out his wings and that's when my husband realized it was not a chicken afterall. smile

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#68391 - 08/28/07 06:03 PM Re: We have a hawk hanging out
Rogo16 Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 439
Loc: Arizona
You need a good dog to guard your stock. My dog doesn't let anything near my stock.
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#68392 - 08/28/07 07:34 PM Re: We have a hawk hanging out
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
Susie: There are many kinds of hawks and a lot of those do not prey on chickens. I see Red tailed hawks, Red Shouldered hawks, Broad winged hawks, Cooper's hawks, Sharp-shinned hawks as well as American Kestrels all the time here (listed from largest to smallest in size). These are probably your possibilities in Arkansas too.

Probably, the Red tailed is the biggest threat to poultry. Your visitor is probably one of the others. The others never seem interested in my chickens. There are probably instances of Red Shouldered & Broad wings taking poultry but I have not heard about it.

The Sharp-shinned, Cooper's & Kestrels aren't large enough to take a standard sized chicken. The Cooper's hawk (L: 14-20")could be a threat to Bantams. The Sharp-shinned (10-14") probably couldn't take a bantam. [Both the Cooper's and Sharp-shinned prey on birds. The largest birds I've seen the Cooper's hawks here take are those non-indigenous Collared Doves that have invaded from Africa via the Bahamas to Florida. The Collared Doves are a little bit bigger than a Mourning Dove (so about 12" in length]. I know a Kestrel (10") is not a threat. Females of these hawk species are larger than the males (and thus the range in size that I give).

If you can take a pic & post, even if just a silouette, I can probably tell you what it is. Thxs, Chris

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#68393 - 08/28/07 07:35 PM Re: We have a hawk hanging out
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
What would your dog do if a hawk was sitting on the fence?

I figure I'm pretty lucky to have a dog who won't kill my chickens. That's probably as good as it gets with the fur-baby choices I've ever made. LOL! I actually have only ever had one hawk incident (not where I currently live) many years ago and once had an opossum who was stealing eggs, but otherwise have been very lucky in not having predator problems. (knocking on wood as I type wink )

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#68394 - 08/28/07 07:37 PM Re: We have a hawk hanging out
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Thanks, Chris. I'll see if I can get a pic of him. I see lots of red-tailed hawks around this area, but I'm not sure if that's what this guy is or not. I know, from when he was sitting there so long over the weekend, he had a lot of white on his chest and belly, but without my glasses on, that's about as good as it gets in terms of a description so far.

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#68395 - 08/28/07 07:44 PM Re: We have a hawk hanging out
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
I have noticed my chickens watching the occasional Red tailed soaring overhead (I see them looking up so I do too).

Although I have never had a hawk to bother my birds, I notice that my chickens, especially the head girl (an Australorp) make a peculiar "growling noise" and keep their eye up on the soaring hawk. I always wonder, "How do the chickens know the Red tailed is a potential threat?" They haven't been attacked (to my knowledge) by a hawk so is this some inherent quality or what? Chris

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#68396 - 08/28/07 10:20 PM Re: We have a hawk hanging out
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Good Morning Chris,

Quote:
I always wonder, "How do the chickens know the Red tailed is a potential threat?"
Well, you (probably) have the answer already:

Quote:
If you can take a pic & post, even if just a silouette, I can probably tell you what it is. Thxs, Chris
;-)
Chickens see good and hear good, so itīs the shape ("flight-picture") and sound that indentifies the different birds - I think, Iīm no expert! As for the "growling noise", there are different alarm sounds for aerial predators and for ground predators, watch your birds closly, they will show you many interesting things.

Hello Susie,

Quote:
I'm just bringing this up because I found it interesting.
Thanks for sharing, yep, we too have similar experiences. We have a Stone Marten (Martes foina) living right in the same barn where our cockerels-coop is, Iīve seen him twice last month and I have seen him before, also. Over here we call this behaviour "Burgfrieden", sorry, no translation, hereīs a link: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burgfrieden

We also have a pair of Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) in the trees of the run, they come since we have chickens and decided to make our garden/run their territory. They fight away other flying predators, this is very cool to watch, we can see those flying predators fight right above our heads, very close, and very impressive!;-)

We also have Erinaceidaes overwintering in our hay/straw, those barbed little fellows always "steal" and eat the eggs from our Pins when they lay in the garden or when they go broody out there;-)

We also have foxes in the woods right beside us, and I have seen young foxes so I know they breed. We also have wild pigs in those woods, and a pair of buzzards. I love to watch the buzzards, they are very impressive flyers, I like them;-) I have been following them so I know where their nest is, they had a "chick" this summer and I was happy enough to watch them learning to fly, this was a beautiful experience.

5 miles near us in the neighbour village there is a falconer living with his birds in an old castle, he lets his hawks and owls and all those other beautiful predators hunt over our property of course. He told us from cats beeing carried home by his birds as a prey, but so far we havenīt lost a single chicken to any of the predators that live near us or even with us.

Surprisingly we NEVER monitored this:
Quote:
My birds have apparently become used to him enough that they weren't reacting with the alarm call.
Honestly, our birds warn EVERY time when the falcons fly into "their" tree which stands right beside the coop. They "know" this pair of falcons since a few years now, but they really warn every single time. So your observation is very interesting to me, thanks for sharing!

Gotta run, best greetings,

Joachim

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