Antipredator response to red-tailed hawk

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,720
    2,346
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    My free-range flock of American Dominiques (1 male, 5 females), bantam American Dominique (1 male), red jungle fowl (3 female), and American games (1 male, 1 female) are having issues with a red-tailed hawk that took out a red jungle fowl male 2 weeks ago. Lost bird was in habit of ranging towards penned birds away from cover so as to visit with ladies. He paid ultimate price. Red-tailed hawk is having problems of its own with snow cover denying it easy access to its staple of voles so it has been trying at circling and perching in locations where it can take advantage another of flock member wandering from cover of briars and sumac plants. When hawk comes calling flock tightens up and moves directly to heavy cover. Hawk call from roosters is not given but another loud and deep cackle-like call is given by at least one rooster that seems directed at hawk. I wonder if it is a vocal threat display. The larger roosters are in perfect position to take attacking hawk on as the predator may be able to dive into some of cover but will have to walk some distance in order to take off. Roosters will have advantage at that point. No rooster present I think hawk would attempt to flush hens by walking in on foot. If I did not supply feed near cover, flock would have to move to places where hawk would have easy pickens.

    Flock also seems able to tell red-tail from harmless red-shouldered hawk which is almost same size. Both hawk species hold territories that encompass my property to these birds seen multiple times daily.
     
  2. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,723
    11
    183
    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    If the rooster's call is sounds sort of like a loud whine then it is a threat call to let the bird of prey know that it has been spotted. My roosters alway make this sound when they see any large bird flying above them or perched in a tree near them.
     
  3. The Tinman

    The Tinman Chillin' With My Peeps

    501
    2
    111
    Jun 10, 2010
    Fairfield County CT
    The hawk may land for a better look but they like to swoop in for the kill. I would hang CDs on a string in the trees. The flashing sunlight distracts the hawk.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,720
    2,346
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:Call is not the typical warning "hrrrrrrrrr" sound for hawk. It is more of a deep "cackle". If warning call for hawk made, then it is prior to flock entering cover. The sound of interest made from heavy cover when flock is stationary. Hawk is worrying flock and they are staying tight and in cover most of day except when I or dog come out.
     
  5. 19hhbelgian

    19hhbelgian Pigs DO Fly!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    New Tripoli PA
    Don't think that any bird of prey is not a threat... I had a falcon take one of my hens last year [​IMG] Granted, it didn't fly away with her, but it did kill her and was in the process of eating when I found it [​IMG] That thing was EXTREMELY lucky it is a protected species, cause it hung around all summer, and was not afraid of me. I could get within a few feet of it!
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,720
    2,346
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:This is not a canned hunt for hawks as provided by typical physically impaired chickens (bred for looks without consideration for survival characteristics) and a lack of cover as typical of barren yards and runs without proper covering.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by