1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Bald eagles killing ducklings

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by teach1rusl, May 28, 2016.

  1. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    A pair of bald eagles was placed several miles away a few years ago. It was exciting at the time, but since I have chickens it was also a bit worrisome. I've seen them (actually only one) fly over on several occasions, always heading in the direction of the nesting site. Never had issues myself, as my birds have ample cover here.

    But my neighbor has lost a few ducks. We never knew for sure (still don't) whether it was eagles or not, but were suspicious. But a three week old Muscovy duckling disappeared yesterday.

    This morning (around 8a.m. here), upon hearing a ruckus - the neighbor ran out, and there sat one of the eagles - the adult ducks seemed to be rallying, trying to scare it away. It had another duckling. She chased it, and of course it flew to a nearby tree and then away.

    The red-tailed hawks here seem to be on a schedule - they're generally up in the sky late morning and mid afternoon. If you have EAGLES in your area, do they seem to follow a schedule as well??? I'm thinking that if they do, this pair mostly hunts mornings - and maybe she could let her ducks out of their pens late morning/noonish with better chance of them not being taken???? Opinions from those experienced with eagles??
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well, coincidence? Maybe. Guess I'd have to watch a few more days. But I was walking through the alpaca field this morning and saw "the" eagle flying S.E. (the nesting site is N.W. of here). The local church bells were toning...it was 8 a.m. I'd missed which direction it had come from, or whether it had flown over my neighbor's lake...only saw it flying away. So I'm guessing that eagles are on a schedule...
     
  3. Birdydeb

    Birdydeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Replying mainly because I hope others chime in with their observations. We have eagles and hawks. Near a river and also near sites where they have set up eagles. Also in the direct migratory path. I don't think I have seen the eagles though I know they're here. It seems that I see the most hawks in the afternoon but I will be paying closer attention now to when. I guess every area would be different but this could be very useful to know.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

    7,769
    1,309
    388
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    We have Red Tail Hawks and Bald Eagles here. We are also in their migratory path. There is actually a nesting pair less than a mile from our house. The tree is in a field that we farm, so we get to observe them close up. We have never had a problem with them going after our chickens, but my birds have lots of cover and use it when anything large flies over - that would be eagles, hawks, or vultures. What kind of cover does your friend have for the ducks? Eagles, like any other predator, are going to go for the easy meal first. If those ducks have no cover or protection, well, they're... sitting ducks. I have observed our eagles out at any time of the day.
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yeah...we have red tailed hawks here (we're in southern Indiana) and some bold, small hawk breed - not sure what it is...maybe coopers hawk? Anyhow, our red tails seem to make themselves known late morning (10-11 am) and mid afternoon...maybe 4ish. And those are the times my chickens settle in for a siesta - plenty of cover here, and lots of small prey around us that the hawks seem to prefer. I've only seen a hawk go after my birds a few times in the past 7 years, and it was always a small one...either a juvie red tail or a small breed hawk. Knock on wood, but we've never lost a bird to one of them - I think because we have so much cover here and ample mice, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, voles, etc.

    As for my neighbor's ducks...the ducklings are penned at night, but have access to the lake during the day. There's decent cover (a tree line right along the bank, and a dock/boathouse...plus some tall cat tails) along part of the lake, but when the eagle hit yesterday it was not in that area, so they literally were sitting ducks, out in an open area by the dam. I'm not sure whether the adult muscovies rushing in might have dissuaded the eagle from coming back or not - probably not.

    I'm going to watch for it again tomorrow morning - hoping to see it around that same time, as that would indicate that it does kind of follow a schedule of sorts...and if so, the neighbor is going to just "free range" the ducklings for half the day.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by