Apparently we have Northern Goshawks here. They're HUGE!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by off-grid hen, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. off-grid hen

    off-grid hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2011
    Upstate NY
    After head count before lockup, I was missing two chickens. It wasn't dark yet, so hubby and I went looking around, saw no sign of either bird. We called and waited, but they didn't come home. In the morning, searched a wider area for signs of the girls, and found a pile of Dominique feathers with no blood. We were then thinking 4-legged predator.

    Later in the day, hubby went back out to investigate, he saw a hawk that he didn't know rooting around the pile of feathers looking for leftovers. He said it was MUCH bigger than any redtail he'd ever seen, and we have a lot of them. He looked in my audubon bird book, and identified it as a Northern Goshawk. Guess what they eat: ruffed grouse, which we also have in our area. Later that afternoon, there was still no sign of anything from the other bird. Didn't let the girls out of the run. That didn't matter, because they all stayed huddled in the back of the coop. They didn't even venture out into the totally enclosed and covered (with 2x4 wire) run!

    The next day- after an egg delivery, I pulled into the yard and there was the missing chicken on the roof of the coop, looking in the window at her sisters! I let her in, and she was none the worse for wear, just a little thirsty and shaky. It's been a week, and she's acting like nothing happened.

    That's life in the big woods, I guess. I'm honestly surprised we haven't had losses before now. But that Hawk! What a beautiful bird!

    Is it possible that the hawk left a pile of feathers and no blood? That seems suspicious to me. Could it just have been looking to clean up after someone else's kill? Nothing like a little speculation here on the predator board. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  2. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    I have never seen so I really couldn't say, however I thank you for posting the link to see one.
  3. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    Hi off-grid hen,
    I'm afraid by the behaviour of your other birds, it looks suspiciously like goshawk attack. Hiding in the coop in daytime is classic bird-of-prey avoidance after a bad scare...

    Usually birds of prey take their kill to a fencepost or other roost before plucking and eating. However if they feel safe on the ground and there's nowhere else convenient they're happy to do it there. Yes, they can easily leave a pile of feathers with no blood; they will sometimes pluck some then shift the prey to somewhere else to eat (especially if disturbed).

    I'm sure there are other possibilities... That's just my feeling on it (having dealt with goshawks now for a couple years)...

    regards, and sympathies for the loss,
  4. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    Those goshawks scare me worse than falcons and almost as much as great-horned owls because they are not only fast like falcons and as maneuverable as Cooper's hawks, they can take fairly large prey. I'm glad we don't have them here.
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Keep the birds up for awhile. A cover over them is the sure way to prevent hawk attacks.

    However, let me point out that you don't know that the hawk killed your bird. Any and every predator will eat from a fresh dead carcass that they find. So seeing the hawk later on at the feathers means nothing.

    Still, keep the birds under cover for awhile and hope the hawk moves on. If it was the hawk, he's just found some great easy hunting, so remove the easy prey and he'll have no reason to hang around.
  6. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    I'm very sorry for the loss to your flock [​IMG]

    Goshawks are a very beautiful and facinating species, but they are hard to deal with because they are adept at hunting around obstacles such as trees.

    The good news is that they do tend to move to new territories around this time of year (not so much migration as a shift from summer hunting grounds to winter). So it's entirely possible that your hawk is just passing through.

    I'll cross my fingers for you! [​IMG]
  7. off-grid hen

    off-grid hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2011
    Upstate NY
    Quote:Yeah, I'm thinking something else got the hen, and the hawk was investigating. Other than helping hubby's dress out a deer, I only have wildlife experience with coyotes yipping in the night, deer eating acorns, turkeys causing a traffic jam, and raccoons in the trash. I know we also have pine martens, and we have an impermeable coop. We see the occasional owls, hawks, and eagles. This is my first flock of chickens. It's been fun. And I started off with so many hens bc of high predator load.
  8. ChickcrazyCharlie

    ChickcrazyCharlie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2010
    Leesburg, FL
    When I arrived home after work today there was a bald eagle in oak tree outside my backdoor. The chickens didnt seem to mind, but it scared the heck out of me. Stay vigilant.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011

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