hawk scares all birds away, what to do?

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

We have what we call a chicken hawk that has decided it likes the top of one of our trees. Not a single bird has come to my fountain in two weeks, and it used to be busy all day. I'm very sad, I miss birdy bath time. My feeders are full but no takers, except hummingbirds. Any ideas to encourage mr hawk to find a new tree?

Marlton, NJ

Hmmm Hate to say this but try taking the seed feeders for a while and maybe he'll find another place to stalk. Sorry Cathy but the regular birds will come back when the seed feeders go back up. :-)

This message was edited Sep 5, 2007 1:37 PM

This message was edited Sep 5, 2007 1:39 PM

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

We have a new hawk in our neighborhood to I have not ID'd it for for sure yet and it has had a couple of cathches here.A small bird and looks like maybe chipmunk or squirell. I know some folks don't like the idea but I thought it was kind of cool..... if it gets way out of control, I will take the feeders down for a spell. I don't want to set all my others birds up for easy picken's either.

This message was edited Sep 5, 2007 10:42 PM

Richland, MS(Zone 8a)

Today while I was sitting outside getting chummy with the hummers a large shadow passed overhead. I saw nothing but hummers for the next five hours.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

I don't know what kind this is, but it sat in my fountain today! Gigantic bird, way bigger than a chicken, yellow all around the eyes, yellow legs/feet, fluffy feathers around the top of his legs like pantaloons. I've got the camera ready if he returns.

Marlton, NJ

Hi Cathy, I have a question for you. Are there places for your birds to make a quick hideout in like evergreens around your yard?

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Here is what the area around my fountain and feeders looks like. No evergreens, but lots of plants. (a bit messy, it has been really hot!) At the rear of this area is a 15 foot privacy trellis with heavy hyacynth bean and morning glory vines 6 feet tall and about 2 feet wide, so lots of hiding places are right there.

This message was edited Sep 6, 2007 1:23 AM

Thumbnail by cathy4
Marlton, NJ

I love the fountain Cathy; very nice!

Bristol, NH

Remember that is what hawks do and our bird feeders are like a free picnic to them. Good cover.such a shrubs, will help . It is sad to us to find passerine feathers but this is nature."Chicken Hawk"by yhe way is a misnomer---no such species. I hope you can get a picture but it may already have continued south for the winter.So enjoy them as you would any other animal for their abilities, beauty and grace.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

We have many hawks here. And I love to see them. But the birds are only gone for an hour or so when they come in.
I think maybe more cover for the birds is maybe a good idea for the future for you. We have a natural area for the birds. Many trees and wild bushes, the birds love it. In this, I cut a path, installed a bird bath and the feeders. I think this cover is why we get so many birds to our feeders.

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Best is to plant some dense thorny evergreens close to where you have the feeders, so they have somewhere to dive for cover when a hawk arrives.

Bear in mind too, hawks are part of nature, and can actually help your birds: they always go for the weakest ones, which often means diseased birds. By removing diseased birds, they can nip a disease epidemic in the bud, and stop all of the small birds from getting infected and dying.

Resin

Moxee, WA(Zone 4a)

Resin, The Red Tailed Hawks, Prairie Falcons, Jensen's Hawk, Sparrow Hawk, and a Grey colored Kite are here in droves but they never bother our birds ...... just the gophers, mice, & quail. Our birds are Large Fowl Chickens ...... Guinea Fowl & Swedish Blue ducks. They're all a bit too large for the raptors. I worry about the Great Horned Owls flying around after dark and grabbing the ducks. We see them fairly often roosting in the larger willows trees in front of our home directly above the stream ..... 150 ft away from our porch window. Their pointed ear feathers are distinctive. We used to have 5 ducks now we have 4 ..... 1 just disappeared and he was a big drake. Our Orpington & Welsumer hens must weigh close to 8 lbs each and then I have a few of the NJ Giants that get up to 10 lbs. The raptors are here all day long circling the property.

This message was edited Sep 6, 2007 9:03 AM

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

All those big fat ducks there, those birds of prey must think you've specially put out a birdtable for them ;-)

If there's easy prey around behaving like (pardon the expression!!) a sitting duck . . . well, who would turn their noses up at an easy dinner!

All the same, I'd suspect though that a mammalian predator is more likely to be the actual duck-thief, than a raptor. Coyote, Fox, Raccoon, etc., etc., they too won't pass up on the opportunity for a cheap dinner.

Resin

Moxee, WA(Zone 4a)

Resin, We're on the edge of the desert. There are no raccoons here or even fox. The coyotes are too timid to go into our enclosed chicken pasture with 6ft tall welded wire fence. They'd have to dig under the fence to get in. My neighbor lost at least 2 of his free range chickens last weekend to a coyote .... I am certain. I saw the feather piles. I also saw the darned coyote critter coming back for more chicken breakfast the very next morning at 6 a.m. We had a surprise for waiting for him. He'll likely not associate our properties as a good place for a delightful chicken breakfast any more. Coyotes are beautiful animals but even they can be a problem for farmers. Here they dig up the soft hoses of the pressurized watering systems in the hop fields and vineyards. They bite and chew into the soft hoses just for a drink. They cause tens of thousands of dollars damage to the water systems all over the county every year. We have skunk troubles too but they can be dissuaded from coming onto the land with a good dog roaming the perimeter fence line that does not bother chickens. Man oh man .... today was absolutely beautiful day .... 85 degrees and not a cloud in the sky and a slight breeze. Hops are being harvested on either side of our property.

Moxee, WA(Zone 4a)

Resin, A great way to keep hawks away from a bird feeder station is by using a nearly invisible net like a fishnet but it needs to be kinda large. The little birds will easily navigate around the net but a hawk needs a longer flight path (like an airplane landing) as they swoop in for their tasty little meal. Reflective material may also be effective in keeping hawks away. However, reflective material may keep your songbirds away too. I've seen American Kestrals (Sparrow Hawks) catching sparrows and finches here ..... as many as they want most any time of the day. They also are highly effective catching the small gophers and field mice. I saw one Kestral with a gopher in his claws flying just above the gravel driveway .... it looked like the gopher weighed more than the little hawk. The prettiest hawks I've seen here are the White Tailed Kites. They look a lot like Sea Gulls as they fly around. They have beaks almost like a parrot. When we first glimpsed them we thought they were Sea Gulls.

Adrian, MO(Zone 6a)

he'll leave if there isn't any food. if the birds flew off, he's probably looking for snakes or mice. if you mow your grass it's easier for them to see the critters. i have an owl that comes every night looking for mice and snakes. the owl is a little creepy though cause it peers in my window at me and if i slightly move my foot he will fly away.

Marlton, NJ

Hi Len! He peers in your window? That would be cool but a little creepy.

Adrian, MO(Zone 6a)

yes it is. i know it's just a bird, but if it so afraid of me why does it keep peeping? wherever or whenever i try to sneak a peek at it seems to know i'm looking at it. it turns around, gives me a stare and then flies off.

Marlton, NJ

LOL, Do you have any small pets?

Adrian, MO(Zone 6a)

just one a scottie, but she could care less about mr. owl. it was just here again in the bare branch outside my window. we saw a snake in the backyard a couple hours ago, so i guess the owl keeps finding food.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

What kind of owl is it? That is funny that he is peering in your window.
We have lots of owls here. The first time I saw a barn owl, I was a little creeped out. They have a strange face. I was looking at his back, and he swiveled that face around, eehhhhh, kinda like a white monkey face.

Adrian, MO(Zone 6a)

i think it is a common gray horned owl. very ordinary looking. i'm not sure it's there just peeping at me, they seem to like bare branches and one is outside my window, but they don't miss a thing. It may be that the things just see so well. telescopic vision lol

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

Does he hoot at you too?
We sometimes hear them at night. "who cooks for yoooooooou?" We like to hear them.
We also have one that sounds like a cross between a drunken redneck and a coyotte. Haven't seen it yet, but hear it in the late fall.

Anderson, SC(Zone 7b)

What about putting a trellis over the bird bath & fountain?

Adrian, MO(Zone 6a)

yes and i try to talk back but i haven't quite got the trill down.

Marlton, NJ

Hi SCNewbie! I guess that could be tried but I would worry that they wouldn't see the Hawk coming in for them as well as when the bath is in the open. :-)

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

The birds returned today! right now I have a robin, a mocking bird, a blue headed black bird, & several small sparrows, all in the birdbath/fountain! There is a lone bluejay screeching in the top of the pine, and 2 doves scratching around in the yard. I can't tell you how happy this makes me! It is like someone flipped a switch and back they came. I hear a cardinal singing now. This is so strange, where were they yesterday?

Marlton, NJ

Hi Cathy, Thats great news!

I'm guessing your blue headed Blackbird is actually a Grackle but possibly not this Common one.
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Common_Grackle.html

Where were they yesterday? Just being extra cautious I guess. :-)

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Yes pell, it is a grackle, but much blacker body that the picture. My dog loves to chase them out of the yard because if there is one, there are dozens! Their call does sound like a rusty gate. You should hear my yard today, I can't believe it, a whole flock of robins have arrived, fighting for bath space, like it is their first bath in a month. Now all I need to hear are the wrens, and I'll be a happy camper. No finches yet, the ruby ones stay all year.

The acorns have started falling on the tin shed roof, clank, ting, bang. I love fall. The old apple tree had to come down, so no more kabooms on the roof when the apples fall.

Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

I had a couple of Red hawks cruising my back yard for a few years and it really never stopped the other birds. I did see one of the hawks grab a dove off the ground under the bird feeder but never off a bird feeder. Came from no where and puff, a couple of feathers left behind and that was it. We have a lot of bird's of prey around here so maybe the small birds are just use to it?

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

We had a Red Tailed Hawk cruising around yesterday. The other birds did take off for awhile but where back for dinner!

This message was edited Sep 28, 2007 8:14 PM

Florence, MS(Zone 8b)

The only birds coming to the yard in the last three days come too late to get pics. The Cooper's hawk is roosting in the neighbor's tree tonight. I wish I did not have to leave for work before light. I hope the neighbor gets some good pics in the morning. He is a wildlife photographer.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Our hawk has been back for over a month, not a bird in sight. It is almost creepy.

Marlton, NJ

Thats weird; he must have a nest site very close to you.

No birds at all?

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

days go by without a bird, and I'm outside a whole lot. I see the hawk floating around in circles, keeping an eye out.

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

We hadn't seen our Sharp-shinned for a few weeks, but he showed up for dinner last night! But it was even close to the feeder, futher back in the yard outside the fence. I hoped that he got one of the chippies but dh said it looked like a bird. Darn!!

Gravois Mills, MO(Zone 6a)

I was roaming through DG and ran onto this thread. I enjoy the stories about Preditor birds. We have Bald Eagles here and in the winter we have several of them. The way they hunt and their abilities in the air are really something. Trouble is we have both a small dog and a cat and they do worry me out in the yard in the winter time. I know a Eagle will grab either one of them are anything else up to 10lbs are so if they cannot find a fill there belly with the preferred fish. I have seen a Bald Eagle bring down a gull in flight. But one of the most amazing things I had ever seen is a time when Mr. Eagle came up on the short end of the stick.

I was going down the lake late in the fall in the boat and about 1/2 mile ahead I seen a small flock of black ducks (about 10-14 bird) setting out in the middle of the lake in a very tight group. It seemed odd to me and I slowed down to see what was going on. About that time I looked up and there was a Eagle about 200 ft up in the air. Well he dove on that group of duck and just before he hit them they disburst on the water ( not fly into the air) in all directions and the Eagle missed. As soon as he missed and was climbing up the ducks went back into a tight grouping. I thought I would sit there awhile and see what happened next. Sure enought the Eagle goes back up high dove again on that flock and the same thing happened. After about the 3rd time he left and flew up the lake like he was leaving. He was up pretty high and disapearded behind a high hill that formed a point in the lake about a mile away. I sat there a few minutes and watched the ducks because they were still in a very tight group and I thought that was odd. I happened to look up the lake where the Eagle had disapeared around the point and low and behold here comes the eagle full tilt down the lake not more than a couple foot off the water. He came within 50 ft of me so low on the water it looked like he was going to dip his wings. He got to the ducks shot up a shot up a few feet and dove and again they waited to the last minute then went all directions like before. After that last try he gave up and went off to find something else. A few minute later the duck ducks broke that flocking pattern.

There are lessons to be learned from this. Birds are not stupid, they are extremely aware of their surrounding even at great distances, they can plan, and some of the planning is pretty complex. I am convinced the duck did what they did to throw off the eagles targeting. When they disburst like that on the water they totally confused his target. Had they went into the air they would have made it a lot easier for him. But with all the splashing and bodies going different directions they blew it for him. I am also sure the Eagle did what he did with the sole purpose of changing his tactics, making them think he left. Last but not least by any mean is I still cannot figure out how they knew the differance between when the eagle gave up and when he was pretending to.

I have seen Eagles do other things using stealith and I have seen ducks and other things use defensive actions but I have never seen a higher display of intelligents by birds as that day.

Marlton, NJ

ozarkian Thats a great story! Thanks so much for telling us all about it.

It is always good to see the little guy win and the fact that they have figured out a great stradegy is very interesting.

Thanks for being so observant and sharing your experience with us. Pelle :-)

This message was edited Jan 14, 2008 2:40 PM

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

What a nice morning story on a gloomy gus day. Tks!

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

Oh yes , that is a great story! Thanks for sharing!

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