Bald Eagle Predation

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by cybercat 2, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. cybercat 2

    cybercat 2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 28, 2011
    I saw an bald eagle fly over our house recently and was awestruck, having never seen one flying free. I thought it was just passing through, but now know that a nesting pair had set up housekeeping. There are at LEAST 3 eagles and they have been poaching day-range chickens and ducks out of our 1-1/2 acre pasture. We have all of the usual predators as well, but didn't know the eagles were also hunting here until 2 weeks ago. An adult eagle glided down like a landing plane, herding the birds into the fence line to trap them. It grabbed my Cayuga duck, trying to regain altitude when I chased it off by waving my arms and yelling. The eagle fled, leaving the duck behind with a huge talon hole in her side. (Gabby has recovered quickly btw.) It rained hard today, but that didn't stop an eagle from killing and eating my Polish rooster about 40 feet from the house. What kind of measures can I take to protect my birds as we work to make covered runs? We have two small covered runs already but they can't house all the poultry for any length of time. The fastest solution I can come up with is to lean sections of wood on top of concrete blocks against the fence so the chickens can run underneath when the roosters alarm-call. We have a number of small outbuildings that the birds can hide in, but we need solutions around the fence boundaries, because the birds can't always reach the sheds in time, given the size of the pasture. (I am aware of the eagles' protected status, btw.) Google ideas also include movable scarecrows, dogs (ours is ancient) and perhaps noisemakers when the eagle is spotted (but we aren't outside all the time. [​IMG] )

    I appreciate your help and expertise...
     
  2. Roosterfry

    Roosterfry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Covered run should do it. I guess if you had a special dog that might work. One of my dogs barks ferociously at every birds from a buzzard to a hummingbird. She'll get close as she can to them and barks like they're a burglar. I didn't train her to do this. The first year I owned her I used to feed wild birds and the bird feeder was hung directly over her pen. And she would get bored and bark at them. So apparently for my dog "kate" she may have a personal thing against birds lol...
     
  3. turbodog

    turbodog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you're on track for what may be the best solution given your situation: multiple "hideouts" your birds can make a dash to get under when an eagle swoops in.

    Build as many as you can manage, enough to accommodate more birds than you have, and make them so your birds can get under but the eagle has a hard time. At the very least it may keep the eagles from being able to make an easy aerial attack, and force them on the ground. In a ground race, my money's on the chicken.
     
  4. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

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    SSS... just kidding [​IMG] in Alaska they shoot bottle rockets at them. Works well.
     
  5. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Keep your birds locked up when you have eagles and hawks moving through your area. Since they have eaten some birds already, they will stick around and check back often for "chicken dinners". I free range, and my method when I see a hawk, I pen up any vulnerable birds because I know that once a hawk gets a meal at my place, he will forever view it as a potential food resource. I know this is a bit late to help you, but hopefully others can learn from this. It may be a hassle to pen your chickens for a few days or a week when a migratory hawk comes through, but it pays off. Now, resident raptors may require netting covered runs. Whatever you do, you must exclude the eagle. You may not harm it, they are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Act. Any suggestions to do otherwise are short sighted, anyways. Nature abhors a vacuum, and if one hawk is gone from a territory, a new one will take over that hunting ground, so eliminating it is not solving anything anyways.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  6. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I really like your answer, as it holds a heck of a lot of sense. SSS is highly inappropriate when talking about a species that enjoys federal protections, as well as any kind of harrassement of the birds.

    I agree that getting rid of the birds is not necessarily a good idea, as one family of bald eagles could be keeping the territory free of 10 to 12 smaller birds of prey. Birds that are more likely to think of chickens as a staple meal instead of just an emergency go-to.

    It's entirely possible that the stresses of feeding chicks is driving the parents to resort to chickens, and that once the eaglets are gone, they'll return back to their normal hunting patterns.

    Either way, you are on the right track building a covered run.
     
  7. cybercat 2

    cybercat 2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Our Aussie/Lab mix had been a great guardian dog. She mothered absolutely every critter that came along. But now our pooch is 15 years old...deaf, gimpy and fragile. We're at the point where we've been discussing whether to get another dog. I don't know if I want to go through all the training again. Sigh. Most of the birds are hanging out in the backyard in the shrubbery today. The pasture area doesn't have any undergrowth because the llamas ate it all years ago, lol! I plan to plant a strip of wildlife habitat but I'll have to fence it off from llama grazing. (My husband is not gonna be a happy camper!)
     
  8. cybercat 2

    cybercat 2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Thanks for the agreement. I've been floundering a bit on protection ideas since time is of the essence. I had planned to put up lathe roofs in the bird areas and plant kiwis and grapes but that is a long term project. (and again, I have to protect plantings from the ever nibbling llamas) I think tarps could work short term, but we get a lot of wind in the winter months, so I'm sure I'll be para-sailing across the pasture when those tarps tear loose [​IMG]
     
  9. cybercat 2

    cybercat 2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:I'm in Western Oregon too- just outside Portland. I was uninformed about bald eagles- I assumed that they were still very very rare and that they wouldn't be anywhere around people, let alone setting up housekeeping nearby! There have been recent reports of eagle sightings in several towns around here. (I wish we could get flying fireworks in Oregon. We always had July 4th Armageddon when we were kids. Its just not the same these days!)
     
  10. cybercat 2

    cybercat 2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:I agree that locking up the birds is about the only thing I can really do, but its gonna take a little time (and a willing husband) to get additional and larger runs built. We have spent a lot of time and money on coops and fencing due to coyote and loose dogs over the years and hubby has had enough:(

    I'm in awe of the eagles and was admiring the darn thing even as it was hunting my birds. I had never seen an eagle flying free before, so this has been pretty amazing. To be that close to the strength and power of those amazing wings...When I was saving my duck, I kept thinking, "this is our national bird.I can't harm it!" and wondered what sort of thing I COULD DO to get it to leave. (I was also concerned that the eagle might turn on ME!) Thank you for your counsel.
     

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