Black Hawks?!?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ekofke201, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. ekofke201

    ekofke201 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 27, 2011
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    This is fascinating... until I lose some chickens. Yesterday while I was on the phone I watched a red tailed hawk fly over my chicks. Just as I was ready to run out the door two "black crows" chased him off. I thought they must have some claim to the property. A nest or something. After I got off the phone I went out to put the girls away just in case. They were completely unshaken, however.

    After they were locked up I noticed the (much larger than I thought) black birds sitting on a nearby fence. It took me getting within three feet of them yelling and raising my arms to get them to fly off. They were NOT crows!! I googled and found that they appeared to be Blackhawks!!!

    They are not supposed to be in this area (southern PA) and I have never seen them before. Unless I have been mistaking them for vultures/buzzards. Huge birds!

    One of them is currently sitting feet from the coop on a fence post. I guess the girls are not free ranging today...

    Has anyone experienced them? Or seen hawks just hang around like that? I generally just see them fly over to check out what is around...
     
  2. chickenlover23

    chickenlover23 New Egg

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    Maybe it could be Ravens we have a-lot of those here they are really big about the size of a RedTail Hawk and they chase them away as well maybe it was one of those and did it have a hooked beak or a straight thick beak you could tell birds of prey apart from others because the have sharp hooked beak and very long black sharp talons . Hope this helps ! :)
     
  3. ekofke201

    ekofke201 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The birds definitely had the tail and wing markings of the picture below. However the faces were completely black. Unlike, the photos that show some brown markings around the beak. One of the birds sat on top of the barn and another sat in a tree while I dealt with the chickens this morning, just waiting for them to be let out. They soar without flapping like hawks do as well.

    Finally, I brought the dogs out with me. I taught my clever pitbull the phrase "bad birds" and he watched the sky and barked at them until they went away. This won't solve my problem, however, as I don't trust the dogs out with the chickens unsupervised. Any other thoughts?
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  4. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The range of the Common Black Hawk is extremely southwest, so it is very unlikely that two individuals strayed that far.
    Would it be possible for you to get a picture of the birds?
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    This could be a rare instance where falconer is involved. In that case natural range does not apply. That would also explain your ability to get close. Only black hawks I can think of that hunt together are Harris Hawks and the used by falconers a lot although they are smaller than red-tailed hawks.
     
  6. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Photos would be great.

    If they are the hawks you think they are, perhaps they have escaped or strayed from a animal park or private owner?
     
  7. ekofke201

    ekofke201 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought that too... I think that they must belong to a private owner. It is odd that they would be working together... The completely black face leads me to believe that they can not be hawks anyway. Besides the fact that these birds live in much warmer climates usually. After my "genius" dog training this morning I have not seen them again today. I'll have to keep an eye out. Thank you, all, for helping me talk through this.

    I am always amazed by the number of challenges that 9 feathered friends can pose!
     
  8. ekofke201

    ekofke201 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that the fact that they did not intimidate the chickens also leads me to believe that they are tame birds. They must have been hanging out for a lot of the day and made the chickens feel comfortable. They must not have been getting much of a threatening vibe...

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