6 Years
May 1, 2016
South Dakota
I think I read that if you want to discourage hawks from your area to keep your chickens safe when they are in the open encourage the blackbirds to hang around. Is this true and why and how would it work? I was worried when the blackbirds came around not knowing if they bothered chickens! We have some huge hawks around here.
I think they mean crows / ravens when they say black birds can keep hawks away. I have seen crows harass hawks approaching the crow's nest during breeding season but have seen black birds go after hawks of any kind with the exception of Red-tailed Hawks trying for nestlings.
Yeah, I was thinking those were the types they meant...we only got our chickens last Spring and I stopped putting the seeds that attract the crows or ravens when I saw them on the fence around our yard. It was later I read to put feed out that they like as they can detract hawks! Once we had a big hawk on our round pen rail and that was only about 100 ft from where my chickens were out in the yard. I ran out there and yelled till it took off...which was NOT immediately...and locked my girls and rooster up. I've seen them on wires out in front and hubs has seen them in our treeline so now I'm afraid to let them out in the yard as it warms up! We do have a Great Pyrenees that is in the yard with them and he actually watches the sky at times. I would just hate to lose one of my girls or their rooster. I only have 7 chickens and they are pets too!
I see blackbirds going after crows and hawks, does not really run them off. The hawk nest remains right where its been for years. A shotgun set off toward the crows will tell them to stay away, they are very smart! Here I trapped out the squirrels that are the hawks main dish, just so they are no longer near the house/coop. They no longer come over much, they do prefer squirrel to chicken. Now the new hatch will need some training,,,,
Blackbirds are not crows, though crows are certainly black,,,
Blackbird, Turdus merula is a good companion for chicken and provide another level of safety. They will not fight hawks directly but are inquisitive and will make a noisy warning sound when detect any possible danger. Chicken learn and have some seconds to react. This can make the difference in a sudden attack. When flying hawks, cats, racoons, strange humans, anything, are discovered by blackbirds often give up and go away after losing the surprise factor.

For a chicken owner could be convenient to recognize this warning call

American robin plays a similar role in USA and will be the first to discover a hawk visiting the area.
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The place my mom has is next to what I'll call an ephemeral pond. It was there in years where we had decent rainfall and would persist most of the year during good times. When it was present, the Red-wing Blackbirds nested there, as they love the water. When they were living there and a Hawk made the mistake of flying through their turf they would gang up on the Hawk, swarming it, screaming and cursing up a storm, and a few times even ripping feathers out of those that strayed too close to their homes! The Hawk always bailed as quickly as possible once it begun. Its cover had been completely blown, destroying all chance of it successfully hunting, plus it had to deal with a swarm of pissed off little noise-makers.

I used to laugh and enjoy the whole spectacle immensely because it meant *I* didn't have to spend my energy running the hawks out.

I'm not sure if other Blackbird species are this offensively defensive when it comes to Hawks interloping into their territory, but it wouldn't surprise me. Starlings hate Hawks and drive them out too, but they will thieve Chicken eggs. I've also seen Crows and Ravens harass the living hell out of all kinds of Hawks and Owls, too. The Corvid family to which they belong is full of clever, and often ornery, stubborn, and persistent types.
I think I read that if you want to discourage hawks from your area to keep your chickens safe when they are in the open encourage the blackbirds to hang around....

Crows and ravens are members of the blue jay family of birds. There is nothing magical about crows harassing hawks. However hawks (Especially Chicken Hawks) enjoy nothing more than a nice tender filet of crow. The good news is that when the cards are delt in the hawks favor a murder of crows may well provide an alternative food source for hawks, diminishing the hawk pressure on your chickens.

If you are a crow huger the following video may be hard to watch. None the less it illustrates the true relationship between crows and hawks. The flock of agitated crows eventually decides to move on because I assume that there is nothing to see.

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