Friday, April 5, 2013

Chicken Hawks

Okay, so this isn't really what a chicken hawk is.

And while this might be your idea of a chicken hawk based on your childhood cartoons, 
this isn't really one either.
Chicken hawk is a term used for 3 different hawks:
Cooper's Hawk
Short Shinned Hawk
and a 
Red Tailed Hawk.
Of the 3, only the Red Tailed hawk actually makes a meal out of a free range chicken.
A few weeks ago, 
I lost one of my Buff Orpingtons.
Nothing was left of her except a pile of pumpkin colored feathers.
There was speculation over what might have taken the bird for its dinner.  
A fox was the frontrunner as a suspect as I had heard them barking in the night, but 
after a close encounter the dogs had with a skunk, I thought perhaps that was the culprit.
Then, one day I'm watching the birds at our bird feeder in the back yard.
I notice the chickens running at break neck speed towards a cedar tree in our fence line.
At first I thought nothing of it.
Those chickens run everywhere.
Then I see a large brown bird swoop down towards the hens as they're running.
It was the local red tailed hawk. 
I ran out the back door, waving my arms shrieking
"Don't you eat my chickens!"
(Thank GOD there was no one there with a camera)
The hawk flew off and I counted the hens.
One was missing.
I looked over towards the coop to see the missing chicken stepping out clucking as if to say
"Where the heck did everyone go?"
I ran over (hearing the shrieks of the hawk still nearby) and pushed her back into the coop.
I turned to go get the other chickens only to see them running at high speed back to the coop
screaming, "We're coming! We're Coming!"
Ok, maybe they weren't screaming, but if they were capable of speech, that's what they would have said.
Now the girls are spending a little more time in lock down.
Oh, they get out, just not on any kind of set or regular schedule-
the same thing the police tell you if you think someone is watching you.
They aren't happy about it.
Especially Bertha here.
I expect to find her one morning dragging a tin cup across the wire.