Hawks and Chickens

Someone’s been eating our chickens — and there he is!

Assuming that a hawk was behind the growing number of chickens we were losing, Bill constructed an ingenious trap that uses a live chicken for bait (very safely, I might add), and traps the predator without damage.  It took several days, but when I was walking Simon one afternoon, I heard chicken alarm calls and then the sure sound of bells, which Bill had attached to the trap.

Bill ran down to the trap, blanket in hand.  The hawk grabs the blanket, which allows Bill to grab the hawk’s legs, keeping both the hawk and Bill safe.  I was fascinated to learn that though hawks have both talons (extremely dangerous) and a very effective beak, they won’t attack with their beaks. Once the legs are secure, the hawk settles down quietly, never trying to bite.

We got a couple of pictures before Bill and I took this beautiful Cooper’s Hawk for a little car ride south, where we released him safely.  I hope his memory of the Bluestone Chicken Diner disappears before he returns next fall for the amazing autumn hawk-and-eagle migration.

Of course the egg-laying capacity here dwindled, and we are never happy when any of our animal companions, wild or otherwise, are killed. And yet … living on a farm and near adequate undeveloped land for wildlife, we are exposed almost daily to the processes involved in the great energy exchange that drives all of creation. From that point of view, this was an amazing experience. And “killer” or not, the opportunity to see such a fierce and fearless creature was awe-inspiring.

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3 thoughts on “Hawks and Chickens

  1. Sorry about the lose of the chickens, but seeing that hawk up close and personal must have been awe inspiring. He is a magnificent creature. How far did you have to take him? How many chickens did he get before you captured him?

  2. I’m distance-impaired, but I’d guess about fifteen miles south of here. The hawk flew several circles right over us, then sailed off to perch in a tall pine down the road. Happy trails, Coop. And he dined well: four hens on our side and one across at St. Aidan’s. Too bad he didn’t go after that rooster …

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