Within a week of being let out of the run at 10 weeks my little flock of eight was swooped by hawks.
It seems like it has become a frequent part of their lives since then.
My suburban backyard is heavily treed and shrubbed, flowers and tomatoes are
not an option for me. But the abundance of cover around the yard has helped
me keep my eight girls intact in spite of the many redtails wheeling around in the sky.
If you haven't seen the response when they sight a hawk it is impressive, they all duck into the closest
bush or under the deck or picnic table and the screeching begins. Used to be they would be motionless
and silent for up to an hour, but as they have gotten older i guess they have developed an attitude.
So as I let them out this morning in the drizzle and they went out to range. About 15 minutes later I went
out to check their food and they screeching and taking cove. I see a big motion up in one of my perimeter trees,
big bird. Chickens for some reason have no trouble spotting whats lurking high in the trees,
much harder fo me to pick out whatever menace is lurking up there,so I start walking towards the tree in question
trying to see what I can. It's a big shape and I think it might have something.
Big wings unfurl and I disturb whatever it is enough to get it to move on.
Boy was I surprised.
A big heron, grayish in color, 5-6 foot wingspan, launches out of the tree and takes off.
I would not have believed my eyes except for the way they curve those long necks in flight,
with those big lazy flapping motions that's an unmistakeable identifier.
Okay, this is Long Island and I'm only a mile from the Long Island Sound.
Still in over 20 years this is the first one ever to visit my backyard.
The girls who by now can distinguish planes and helicopters from real threats
apparently are not used to herons yet. It was a nice surprise this morning.