So, what do you do when you love to feed the birds and squirrels, but then the neighborhood hawk discovers that the feeding area offers a hunting bonanza? I purposely put the feeders where the birds and squirrels would have cover, and move them around, as our hawk has been around awhile, but I have seen him snatch both a squirrel and bird recently. From a wildlife standpoint, we have plenty of squirrels and rodents, so it really doesn't matter that the hawk is getting them.
Not sure about the bird species though. I don't think we any rare species in the area, but I feel a little bad that I am tempting them to an area where there is a hunter. Of course, he's here anyway, no matter where they are in the area...what to do? Let nature take its course with no intervention, including feeding, or keep feeding and be happy the birds of prey are healthy and thriving in my urban area? Opinions, please...
My Opinions is.
Get your self a good Digital Camera,
And go get some 'You beaut Pictures' of the Kill. [action shots]
After all it is nature at its best .
You could win Photography competitions with what you are seeing.
Here in Aus. An average Comp. has a first prize of $450.
You won`t win with Baby or Family Shots.
You are on a winner there. Take the PIC.!!!!
I agree. Theres actually been studies done about this and they say that Hawks only spend 10% of their time at feeder sites. I would keep the feeders in an open area so the birds can see the Hawks coming and have more time to escape.
My bird feeders are for all of the birds. Hawks will usually take the old, ill or slow. They keep the gene pool clean. The experience of watching a kill is different for everyone. It is awesome to watch, for me. The Hawk has to eat and will eat. If you get to watch that's a bonus. They miss a lot and that's fun to watch, too.
Thanks for the opinions. Yes, though I am sad, I am also thrilled when I see "our" hawk make a kill, as I know this means he is healthy and a skilled hunter. Plus, though I am in the south, and in an older urban area, I do not have rats around and, hence, no snakes. I like snakes, but because many are poisonous here I'm just as glad to have the hawk eliminate their food supply in my yard.
An added plus is that this hawk had a mate this year, and nested in an old pine across the street. Not sure if young were sucessfully raised, but it was great just the same knowing how this pair had adapted and survived despite tremendous urban growth and old forest destruction in my area. Thats a good thought to move the feeders in the open and see if that helps--maybe my thought about providing cover to protect them was backwards...Will let you know, and try to get pics.
I have the same problem except its all the neighborhood cats. This truly bothers me due to the fact they do not need the food, I keep feeders in open areas as well as high up, but I still see the occasional...so it could be worse...It can ALWAYS be worse...
Live trap the cats and send them to the pound. Animal control will probably pick them up for you so that you don't have to make the trip. Free roaming and feral cats kill billions of birds in our nation each year.
We also have the same problem in Aus.
But I don`t here.
I have 2 large dogs.
Last cat I saw 3 years ago was up a tree
With both dogs at the base of tree,
Next morning the cat was presented to me at the back door.
With 2 very satisfied looking dogs wagging their tails.
The cat was quite dead.
I had this same hawk problem. Its not really a problem. Though everytime I saw a cooper's hawk swoop down and take a bird off my feeder, I screamed. Its awesome and it happens so fast its breath taking. I felt bad for my birdies because I was luring them in only to be eaten by something else.
I read that if you stop feeding the birds for a few days (maybe a week or so) that is long enough for the hawk to move on to another location. Which I did. But then when I started feeding again, it was only a matter of time before the hawks came back also. The hawks had a daily regime when they would take from the feeder. You could set your watch by it. So if you don't mind "real graphic nature" taking place in your yard, I wouldn't worry about the hawks. (Cats are another issue entirely and I won't even get started on that one.)
We also had problems with a bald eagle and our very small dog for awhile too. We lived on a river and we had a huge old dead cottonwood tree on the beach. Each winter, the big boy bald eagle would sit in the dead tree and fish from our front yard. It was great; until he started to swoop down in our yard over top of our very small dog. The eagle never picked the dog up, but we lived in fear that he would. The cottonwood tree fell down last summer, so the eagle won't be hanging out in our yard anymore.
Where roaming and feral cats are concerned: Not only do i fear for "my" birds, but my indoor cat has started to territory mark due to the neighboring cats that roam around the house and make rude gestures at her through the window glass. Although i've been managing the issue using "Natures Miracle," i have yet to find a solution to the behavior itself.
Nature's Miracle has been my friend for the very same reasons mentioned by estreya. I've taken to keeping my windows closed these days and I don't allow my cats out into the screened in porch any longer.
I agree with stelco here, "Hawks will usually take the old, ill or slow. They keep the gene pool clean" I also agree with stelco here, "Live trap the cats and send them to the pound". Our Village provides the service for free.
Oh yeah, my brother had that same problem with his cat. His cat kept marking the house because of the ferals that would sit outside the windows and look in. My brother started trapping the outdoor cats and he put some of those of landscape spikes in mulch around the windows. Trying to keep the ferals out of view from his cat.
I had to replace drywall in one room from a neighbor's cat marking its territory to show my indoor cats it was boss by spraying through my open window in a spare bedroom we never used. I didn't catch it until it was too late. The urine had pooled in the base of the window over the course of a few weeks and had also crystalized and dripped down the wall. Then one of my cats started marking in that area and Aleksander's pee was dripping down the wall and behind the floor trim so I had to put him in a crate for a few months. This was long before Nature's Miracle was available. I had my neighbor's cat neutered to avoid having it hauled off when they told me they wouldn't keep it in. That was the very first cat I didn't own that I had neutered. That was at our old house and their cat did stop spraying after it was neutered.
Here I had to have another neighbor's cat neutered for the same crap only this time the cat was spraying up all the windows to my screened in porch. Some of his urine ended up on the cushions of patio furniture I had out there and I had to replace the whole set. I still haven't replaced the trim to the windows out there. I took that cat to the shelter when it kept spraying after I paid to neuter it and after I asked them to keep their cat away from my house. Now, I don't bother asking neighbors more than once. I just trap their cat and haul it off to a shelter or call animal control if they're a feral.
Two spraying cats in 20 some years isn't that bad I suppose but I still don't appreciate getting stuck with the bills and I definitely don't want any cats hanging around my feeders.
Yes Yotedog, You must have a camera so you can take pictures like this. Sorry to just jump right in but I couldn' t help myself. And yes, yotedog Iam having the same problem with the hawks getting my little birdies. And the hawks get mad when you watch them eat.
Wow--Great pics! Sorry, I dropped my digital camera and its going in for service (right before XMAS, good timing, wouldn't you say??). So its gonna be awhile before I can try to capture him on film, but guess what I saw yesterday in the old pine where the hawk nested and usually hangs out? A heron! I have no idea where he came from (no real marshes or continuous streams within several mile of here unless you count the drainage ditch behind my house...filled only when it rains). He was a small one, and I'm wondering what the hawk would have done with him?? We, too, have a tiny old dog and though I think she is too big for him to lift, I'm not totally convinced...
Now, onto the cat issue...I must confess, we do have a cat that goes outside, but that is because she was formerly feral, and refuses to stay inside without great gnashing of teeth and yowling. And she's afraid of the litterbox, despite our best attempts to find the type/location that pleases her. She does not hunt birds (too fat and lazy), but does occasionally catch the unsuspecting vole, grasshopper etc. When we moved in, we had several cats coming in our yard. Once she was here, after a few tense standoffs, no more cats in "her" yard. They've all staked out a territory, and this yard is hers. Now, I'm not suggesting you put your cats outside!!! But has anyone considered spreading some of the used litter from their cats litterboxes around the perimeter of the yard to fool other cats into thinking that is someone else's territory? MIght work, and I suspect you would only need to reapply it a few times...Our cat stays inside the majority of the time, so I don't think its her continual presence that keeps other felines away. Anyone tried this?
Oh, herons are gorgeous, aren't they? I can't wait till you get your camera fixed.
I've had only a scant few heron sightings here, and i literally gasp at the vision. Do you really think the hawk would have dared feast on a heron? Even a small heron would still be bigger than a hawk, no?
As to the spreading of litter, what an interesting idea! I think i'll try it!
The Peregrine is the real Stelco. I used her name as my handle. Iím Mark and have studied her since 98 in Lansing, Michigan. This is the first year that I didnít get a positive ID on either of our two Peregrines. I saw a major fight in early spring and Stelco may have been driven off or killed. She always ďhung outĒ in the same places, with two different males that have paired with her. I did see Peregrines, but not where she would have been and I couldnít get close enough to read a band number.
She is eating a bird, probably some Pigeon. It looks like fur, but we have zoomed in on the high resolution image and you can tell it is feathers. Peregrines almost exclusively eat birds and like to take them on the wing.
They are large. You would have to be strong to use a Peregrine in Falconry, but they do. They are curious, too. I had a pane of glass separate us and she followed my finger through the glass. The funniest time that I had was when I told a building manager not to let workers near her nest on the 22nd story of a building. He did and the workers got curious about the nest that they knew about. Two grown men were turned into babies when two Peregrines came inches away at over 100 MPH until they could get back inside.
Well, since mine picked off a full grown squirrel without even halting his flight or any trouble getting lift after grabbing it, a pigeon seems reasonable, given a pigeon is meant for flight so is mostly hollow bones and feathers. I've not yet figured out what kind of hawk mine is, but I have worked with raptors in the past, so have been up close and personal, and this guy is BIG.
Stelco, once long ago in college I wrote an article about efforts to save Peregrines. So, whats their range now? I lived in the Midwest then--could I expect to see them here in the Carolinas? Just wondering...
Hope you don't mind my joining in on this conversation. The Peregrines range is all along the east coast but closer to the shore (except for Fla. where their all through the state). The range could have changed to a broader area since that map was made.
So far I've had 3 different hawks in my yard; the Red Tail, Coopers and Sharp Shinned. I love them all!
When you wrote your paper we were probably just learning about how to introduce Peregrines in the U.S. DDT almost wiped them out completely. We were literally down to a couple of dozen wild pair in western states, at best. They started introducing them back to natural cliff environments, but quickly learned that man had changed our environment enough to introduce large numbers of Great Horned Owls to these places. The Owls took so many young Peregrines that the reintroduction effort was slow. As soon as man and beast realized that tall buildings emulated cliffs and that a LOT of unwanted Pigeons were available in cities the game was won. Peregrines are still listed as endangered in Michigan, but they were removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999. I was involved in the Midwest Peregrine Restoration Project for several years and their numbers are increasing throughout the Midwest. They are nesting on buildings, bridges and smokestacks primarily. It looks like they are doing well in natural areas in your state, but climbers arenít so happy about it: http://www.southeastclimbing.com/faq/falcon_closure.htm
Hey, the climbers can go somewhere else for a brief period--after all, WE are the ones who messed up their habitat to start with! Thanks for the info, Stelco and Pelletory. I'm still trying to ID "my" hawk--more later as he shows himself (actually, with the holidays, its probably me who isn't showing "myself"--I'm up alot earlier normally and, of course, thats when I see him. Been sleeping in a bit more lately...). Happy Holidays to everyone in the living world, Hawks and Falcons included!!
Santa brought me a new camera! Yippee! Wonder how the big red fella knew I dropped mine? Hmmm...Great timing on the hawk showing up for breakfast. Yep, I first saw him right by the feeder (which is now empty--thought I'd try to break his habit..). I grabbed my new camera and ran right out in my pajamas to get this pic. Unfortunately, he flew off down the street, so I couldn't get much of a close up. The neighbors enjoyed seeing me running down the street in the freezing cold in my pajamas and bare feet, however...My guess is a red-tailed hawk, but not sure. Any votes?
I have 7 feeders in my garden and I love my birds.
I also love the Hawk that comes to visit.
I feel bad because our house and the hundreds of other houses being built are destroying the Hawk's habitat.
If he's hungry, I don't mind him dropping in for lunch, I feel honored.
It's all part of nature.
Me running down the street in the early AM on a week when most everyone is home, not at work, to witness the spectacle would be a good picture. Not only did I have on my pajamas and no shoes, but I had the camera in my hand AND the binoculars bouncing around my neck. I looked like a bird watching lunatic, thats for sure. But was SO HAPPY to finally get a picture of this guy--its amazing how often I see him, and incredible the number of times I've seen him make a successful kill. Really thrilling, so to get his pic was worth making a fool of myself!
I love the pic of the hawk on the fountain--I presume the small bird beside him is decorative???? Makes a great contrast!
Sorry for going back to this, but Equilibrium, how did you maintain a good relationship with your neighbors after dealing with their cat? At any given time I can have as many as 6-12 cats in my yard. I do have one but he only goes out at night, and he is neutered, the lady across the street is on of those "I wanted to let her have kittens before fixing her" types. Then she keeps a female kitten and so the lineage continues, the meth heads next door have a siamese thats deadly, do not know if its due to actual hunger or just killer instinct, then there are the possible ferals...
Wow, yotedog, what a great photograph! I wonder how large that bird is. It's so hard for me to really appreciate the size of these great winged creatures, especially in a photo. More pictures! Take more! :)
I once had a distressing incident with a Cooper's hawk that had snapped its wing during migration. He stationed himself on my mulch pile, the highest point he could reach on foot, so I grabbed a wool blanket and bundled him into a box. I was shocked at how small his body was in my hands.
Unfortunately, Coopers had just been taken off the endangered list so the bird center killed him. Otherwise they would have had to rehabilitate him. I was distraught.
Do not know where you are getting the anger from Ginger my question was "how did you maintain a good relationship with your neighbors after dealing with their cat". Then I provided more information for my particular situation, so that people giving advice realize that I have feral and neighbor cats (and their kittens due to lack of responsible ownership) coming to my feeders...A co-worker of mine is a falconer, so I hear stories of the blood shed all the time, I guess I have gotten immune to that kind of violence. Its like when I first started fishing I could not deal with the worm or cleaning the fish, now...no problem.
Claypa you are right about having relationships with meth heads, they need ultimatums and a good rehap center. And I mean that it a nice way, thank you very much.
Summerkid, I can just imagine how distressing that whole situation would be. Wouldn't it be nice if we all had so much money we could pay for the vet bill, the wildlife centers, preserves... oh to be Bill Gates...
[quote]Sorry for going back to this, but Equilibrium, how did you maintain a good relationship with your neighbors after dealing with their cat?[/quote] Interesting as given the damage their cats did to my property, it is they who should be concerned about maintaining a good relationship with me. I created bridges by taking my concerns directly to each family in a "neighborly" way. They failed to claim responsibility for their animals' behavior.
Regarding the first people, the damage was done by the time I figured out what was going on. I asked them to come over and look to see that I wasn't out of my mind for asking them to please keep their cat in and they pretty much told me they weren't coming over to look or smell because there were a bunch of cats roaming around and I couldn't prove it was their cat and they weren't going to keep it in and have to pay for cat litter. I was gracious and dropped the issue... for the time being because at that point it was the principal of the matter. I was much younger then and decided to wait it out to try to get a photo one weekend. I planted myself there in the entryway to the room in one of those old bean bag chairs with a good book and waited with my camera. And waited and waited. No photo that weekend but I recall it did spray through the window... probably when I went to the bathroom. I repeated the wait game the next weekend. I finally got a photo of their cat backing up with his tail straight up spraying right into my room. Took the film over to get it developed and went over to discuss it with them. Her husband told her to keep her darn cat inside and they looked as if they were going to go at each other so no sense even bothering to ask them to pay for the damage. I simply suggested that they try neutering it at which point in time the husband went nuts and said he wasn't neutering his dog and he wasn't going to neuter his cat because there was something wrong with people who neutered animals. OK fine. No sense arguing with that mentality and we weren't exactly dealing with pedigreed animals here. No leash laws for cats back then but we did have some interesting ordinances on the books so I held on to their cat for a weekend in my garage then took him to my vet and told my vet what was going on with this "stray" and had the cat neutered and dewormed and while I was at it, I vaccinated the cat too and registered it to them by buying a rabies tag. Pretty darn neighborly if you ask me because I vetted their cat at my expense to "keep the peace" and additionally spent around a hundred dollars in material plus the cost of a guy who could replaster the wall underneath the window and my whole house was full of dust for over two weeks. Plaster work is very messy. Then I had the sash to the window replaced. I stuck a note on its collar to remove sutures on such and such a date. They couldn't even do that so I had to take it back in. After that, we never saw the cat again. My husband said most people would have shot or poisoned their poor dumb animal or taken it for a long drive in the country. We never spoke with them again after that but their kids did always come trick or treating at our house while the parents stood in the driveway and watched as their kids rang our doorbell. We waved, they waved and that was that. My husband works hard for our money and we like having a clean home in a good state of repair. Their cat did a considerable amount of damage to our home back then. I don't think it's very "neighborly" of people to let their cats out other than on a leash or into a fully fenced back yard.
The family who owned the cat that sprayed my screened in porch frames and the cushions I had to replace could have cared less about our home or our cushions. I don't know what kind of issues they had but they were very pleasant and told me they'd keep the cat inside so it would stop spraying and killing my birds and then a few days later the cat would be back spraying and hanging out underneath my bird feeders. I later found out from their kid that the cat was peeing in their house and that his dad kept yelling at his mom to change the cat litter boxes and that maybe then the cat would use them but that his mom kept throwing the cat outside. No sense discussing adult issues with a child so I ignored his comments and went over by the neighbors and asked them again to please keep their cat inside. She smiled and pretty much told me that she had been trying but that the kids kept letting it out by accident. Sorry folks, not worth my time. The people went on a vacation to Disneyland or maybe it was Disneyworld in winter and left the cat out while they were gone. Frozen water and the raccoons ate all the food they left out for the week they would be gone. I took their cat and brought it in to get it neutered and I de-wormed it too. I don't think I gave this one vaccinations but I might have. Same vet only about 20 years later. terryr has been to my home and I showed her the damage this cat did to every frame to my screened in porch which is going to result in every single frame having to be removed and replaced and they are non standard sizes so the damage will be in the thousands of dollars. I paid to have their cat placed in a no kill shelter and I think it was learned that it had a urinary infection which would have been why it wasn't using the litter box in their home... well, cats do tend to like their litter boxes cleaned weekly too. For the record, I felt so guilty about that cat that I went back and bought it back from the shelter and it's in my house fat and happy and has been for a few years now. Funny twist to this situation. Their son came over and looked at our new cat and said he used to have one just like that only skinnier. I told him there were a lot of orange cats out there that all looked alike. Amazing what deworming and delousing for fleas can do. They grow back all their hair, don't have sores all over their bodies from scratching fleas, and begin gaining back weight almost immediately after they are dewormed. And, he uses litter boxes now that his urinary infection was treated. And, he doesn't kill any of my birds any more. terryr, if you're reading this- the cat is the fluffy orange one.
Next time this happens, I will go over and ask a neighbor once.Then if I keep seeing it, I'm trapping it and hauling it off to a shelter. I think I am pretty darn neighborly. At least I go to my neighbors to discuss the issue like an adult. We have leash laws for cats around here. Letting one's cat roam is illegal and results in hefty fines. I'm no longer concerned about maintaining a good relationship because that takes two to do and is impossible if only one party is willing to do so. You can only build so many bridges. Some people are just flat out irresponsible and shouldn't own animals.
Say Ginger, I don't think it's anger you are sensing but more pure and unadulterated frustration. If you saw the current condition of my screened in porch and if you saw the price quotes to repair the damage, you would be in tears. I'm not exactly thrilled about the dead feathers from dead birds littering my yard either. Not everyone is a responsible pet owner like you and if you have the misfortune of living near these types of people like MQN and I do... you would be just as frustrated as us. It's unfair for me to have to keep paying the price of being the one who is being "neighborly".
A gathering of birds will attract predators much the same way that a lawn full of earthworms will attract robins. Since there is a direct correlation between eating and living, this isn't likely to change. ;-)
Generally speaking, providing food for wild birds can contribute to increased survival for adult birds and their offspring. However, any such increase would be balanced out by disease transmission and predators.
It's understood that slower birds--regardless of cause--are easier prey. Hawks don't just take the old, ill or slow. They also take the unlucky very healthy adults and young birds, too. (Young birds are often the slowest!) However, eating sick birds isn't always in the best interest of the pursuer either--as it may end up dead from that very same disease.
Not peregrines or any other hawks, falcons or eagles are 'bred' for hunting. Hunting comes naturally for them. They are, however, trained to return to their captor's glove or fist. Falconers typically keep their birds a bit underweight (and hungry) as they are more likely to follow commands when rewarded with food. In this manner, they are trained to kill upon cue for the pleasure of the falconer. In my opinion, not a sport/lifestyle that a bird would choose if it had a choice.
Peregrines aren't that big, relatively speaking--and are no stronger than your average raptor in the hand :) Size varies among subspecies--and females are roughly a third larger than males. I don't think the peregrine pictured is eating a pigeon. For size reference, this link ( http://www.robert-harrington.com/photos/hawkwatch04/pages/DSCF2054b.htm ) shows a good shot of a peregrine on a falconer's glove. If you view the following *two* pics in that series, you will see the size of the peregrine relative to an adult pigeon. (Adult pigeons are roughly 1/3 to 1/2 the weight an adult peregrine.)
summerkid, the federal permit regs require that licensed rehabilitators euthanize birds with injuries that will leave them without a certain percentage of a wing or leg. By no means will one find consistency among rehabilitators, but the bird you describe may have had an irreparable injury. The accipiters (includes Cooper's hawks) are high-strung, to put it mildly. An injured adult doesn't often adapt well to life in captivity.
Wouldn't problem cats be more appropriately discussed in the 'garden foes' forum?
Back to hawks at feeders. It is the better part of human nature to want to thwart killing and to save the living... perhaps even to scare away such a transgressor. There's something a bit disturbing about one who derives enjoyment from watching something suffer, and rightly so. I've known both sides of the predator-prey issue intimately. And if the quarry were a bird I'd raised, you betcha I'd run to protect it from harm--much the way a mother would protect her child. At the same time, if the hawk were a bird I'd raised, I'd be hoping, hoping it wouldn't go to sleep hungry. Much the way a mother wouldn't want her child to starve, and much the way you don't want the birds at your feeder to starve.
*I have not yet read the lengthy post prior to mine :o
Edited to add that I have nothing further to add... lol
I'm reading. You mean Tyson? You forgot to mention the peeling paint, the buckled trim, the amber colored goo from pee still stuck in the corners from 2 yrs ago, the warped and buckled sashes...way past the time to be neighborly...
[quote] Falconers typically keep their birds a bit underweight (and hungry) as they are more likely to follow commands when rewarded with food. In this manner, they are trained to kill upon cue for the pleasure of the falconer. In my opinion, not a sport/lifestyle that a bird would choose if it had a choice. [/quote] Makes sense. I often wondered how it was they trained to kill on cue and return.
[quote] Back to hawks at feeders. It is the better part of human nature to want to thwart killing and to save the living... perhaps even to scare away such a transgressor. There's something a bit disturbing about one who derives enjoyment from watching something suffer, and rightly so. I've known both sides of the predator-prey issue intimately. And if the quarry were a bird I'd raised, you betcha I'd run to protect it from harm--much the way a mother would protect her child. At the same time, if the hawk were a bird I'd raised, I'd be hoping, hoping it wouldn't go to sleep hungry. Much the way a mother wouldn't want her child to starve, and much the way you don't want the birds at your feeder to starve. [/quote] Very well said.
Equilibrium [quote]if you have the misfortune of living near these types of people like MQN and I do... you would be just as frustrated as us. It's unfair for me to have to keep paying the price of being the one who is being "neighborly". [/quote]
Thank you for explaining it So I can understand it.
I`m just a dumb Aussie.
Here in Aus ,If you call some one "the meth heads next door "
That is declaring WAR.
I should mind my own osdubogjknv.
Thanks again Equilibrium.
Think I`ll stick to MY own posts.
Is a dumb Aussie a phrase used over there to mean something other than dumb? Just curious because you're not dumb. Meth heads next door, eh? Ugh, I've not had to declare war anywhere I live but have known those who have. You come on over here and bring your nice German Shepherd and be my neighbor, ok? Oh ya, bring that nice new lawn tractor too!
Thanks, Stelco, for the positive ID of my hawk--just noticed you had written. Now...if I can just get the pair nesting...wouldn't that be a great shot? Won't happen, if they use the one nest (of which I'm aware) again, its too high for my zoom to get a close up. Love to see those babies, though.
I didn't read every single post here, but want to congratulate you for your pragmatic views on the interactions of hawks and feeder birds. I can't tell you how many times I have had to explain this to people only to have them look disgusted at me as if a hawk shouldn't be spoiling their feeder! I don't enjoy watching anything suffer and die, but take comfort knowing that the hawk is doing what comes naturally and that it is all part of the balance of nature.
Ok, Updating this thread with a new hawk story...What IS it about my yard that attracts these birds?? Obviously, my yard is a smorgasbord of raptor delights...
So, about 3 months ago we acquired some pet chickens. We researched our neighborhood and decided we have every predator known to chicken and man, so built a very strong coop inside a welded wire pen. We added a long run made of cheaper chicken wire, for daytime use. Because of the aforementioned Red Tailed Hawk (yep, we still see him from time to time, though he apparently used a different nest this year..) we covered the pen.
Our hens are always quiet, though they've just started laying and tend to cackle when they are getting ready to lay. Heard lots and lots of noise a few days ago and looked out the window to see a hawk standing on the chicken wire covering to the pen, wings completely outstretched, doing his best to torture our "girls." The pen is only about 4 feet high, so you can imagine their terror, him being so close. They were trapped in the corner, the hawk between them and the coop, so we ran out to rescue them. The hawk took off, but only went about 12 feet away, where he perched almost at ground level on an air conditioner. I grabbed my camera to get a pic, and he let me approach within 4 feet of him, which I thought was quite strange. He never moved, I just decided it wasn't safe to move closer. Must be young, sick or injured I thought, so I went in the house and tracked down a raptor rehab center. Had to leave a message as they were closed.
Went back outside to check on the chickens, and while I was giving them chicken psychoanalyisis (hey, they WERE traumatized!), I kept hearing a bell ring. Three times I stepped out of the pen and looked around, trying to figure out who was ringing the bell, and why. On the fourth trip, quite annoyed, I figured it out. The bell was on the hawk. Everytime he moved, it tinkled...
Long story short, this was a Goshawk (I later discovered), escaped, with a bell attached to its leg, from a person who does falconry. By a combination of good timing and good luck, I was able to reach a wildlife rehabilitator who put me in touch with a person he knew, who knew the bird's owner. The hawk roosted just above our deck overnight (dreaming of a chicken breakfast, I suppose..) and they were able to catch him at dawn the next morning. So its not only the wild and domestic creatures that are lured to the feast in my yard, its the "domesticated wild" ones too...I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing!!
[quote] Obviously, my yard is a smorgasbord of raptor delights... [/quote] My yard is a smorgasbord too. Mostly for deer and rabbits though these days.
The bell ringing would have gotten to me if I hadn't seen it on the hawk's leg. Lots of people put bells on their cats that they let out because of some urban legend that this will be an early warning detection system for birds. Only problem is that within a very short time, cats learn how to move so as to not "ring the bell". Glad your bell ringer belonged to a falconer. Do you know what the odds of finding the actual owner on a bird like that must be? Probably not good. The bird is lucky he ended up in your yard.
Re the goshawk being attracted to the chickens, I believe I read somewhere that raptors are trained with chicken and rabbit parts when they're taught to hunt and retrieve, so he must have really been missing home when you came upon him eyeing all your fully assembled hens. Very, very fortunate bird to have landed in your yard :-)
I've also seen birds taken around my feeders, most disturbing when the Cooper's hawk snatches a cardinal... but a friend who is an avian behaviorist cautioned me to never attempt any rescue. Once caught, the chances of survival are slim, if any, and death would be much more cruel and lingering if the bird was "saved." Having made myself watch, I can say that it's all over in about 10 seconds. And yes, it's true that hawks succeed only about 1 in 10 times, so now when I see one, I have to admit that many times I'm rooting for the hawk to catch dinner (especially if it's a mourning dove - TONS of these to go around here).
I'm new to this site and enjoying all your wonderful pictures so much! Thanks for sharing.
yotedog dear, he's a man who has avoided gettting "banded" by a woman to this day. How the heck that happened with him being a very desirable "keeper" type is beyond me but it did. Anyway, I'd say call on him if that ever happens again and please invite over all your cute single friends to watch the process?
I had to participate in the demise of a Cooper's hawk a few years ago, I was distraught. Found it in my yard with a broken wing. I managed to catch it & put it in a box & took it to a refuge, but since it was no longer on the endangered list, they killed it.
It was surprising to me, once I had an Army blanket over the bird & was no longer looking at those massive talons, how small its body was in my hands.
Well no offense meant to Stelco ... but I don't even know him!!! So nope, not me, I'm not on the gaga list of women! Besides, I have the worlds Sweetest husband. He is NOT a gardener but he loves me and enjoys my enjoyment of the gardening and thats all that counts!
[quote] I had to participate in the demise of a Cooper's hawk a few years ago, I was distraught. Found it in my yard with a broken wing. I managed to catch it & put it in a box & took it to a refuge, but since it was no longer on the endangered list, they killed it. [/quote] Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice refuge- NOT. I feel really sorry for you, it didn't have to be that way. I've heard of this happening once before. Not that you would have known but there are actually extremely dedicated raptor rehabbers out there who have driven several states over to pick up a bird and I once stuck a bird on a plane to get it to someone in Georgia who could provide care for it. Only cost me a hundred bucks and a friend of mine had an approved air freight shipping container. Next time, try calling around to vets and go online to look for raptor rehabbers or probably any actual wildlife rehabber might be able to steer you in the right direction. Sad that we are forced to actually ask a "refuge" what they're going to do with a bird that's an indigenous species that's not on an endangered or threatened species list if it's brought in. That's the second refuge I've heard of in the past 20 years that did that. Rather unorthodox wouldn't you say? Pathetic, absolutely pathetic.
Well, I would have cried too if that had happened to me. It's not your fault. The difference between you and me is that I would have told them to give me the bird back because I've been around long enough to know that not all refuges subscribe to that practice. They should change their name to something that let's everyone know that all they provide care for would be threatened and endangered species. It's a given that the vast majority of wildlife rehabbers only provide care for indigenous species (don't bring in a cat or an English house sparrow and expect a refuge to fix it up) but there's really something wrong with a "refuge" that takes the bird away from you like that and kills a raptor because it's not on a threatened or endangered list any longer.
Summerkid... i know Kankakee is a bit south... but there is a good rehabber right in Glen Ellyn (DuPage County)
DH and I were just there today. They have awesome raptors and owls and other creatures in back. the ones they can't set free, live out their lives there. I saw a Golden and Bald Eagle today... talk about majestic creatures.
We had to take in a cute lil Yellow Headed King *something* today that got stuck in one of those sticky fly traps in our garage. It was the cutest lil bugger... they were gonna clean'im up and then set it free when it was ready to go.