Cooper's and Red-tailed Hawks

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by epeloquin, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. epeloquin

    epeloquin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in a suburban area. A few weeks ago we heard a large murder of crows, they were harrassing a red-tailed hawk. After some time, they seemed to tire and most of them left but the hawk continued to fly from one tree to the other.

    We have also had several visits from a Cooper's Hawk. The latest, a couple weeks ago. I had my eight hens out in the yard for some free range time. Six of them were pecking and scratching in my garden, about 30' from the coop, and two of them were hanging around the coop. Suddenly I noticed that none of them were moving at all and I could hear a strange sound a couple of them were making. It was a low, whistling/purring sound. There was a Cooper's Hawk about 20' up in a tree right above their coop. Once I saw him I scared him off.

    It is rather amazing when they do that. I have seen it three or four times when a raptor is around. One time there was some shrubbery that was fairly close to them so they ran under it, but every other time they have seen a hawk they just froze and a couple of them made that whistling/purring sound. I assume it must be some type of alarm or warning vocalization. The only time I have ever heard them make that sound was when a hawk was nearby.

    I have been very fortunate that the hawks have never made an attempt. Nevertheless, we never let the girls out without supervision.
     
  2. FenikT

    FenikT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My smal flock do the same thing. One of them (Stinky) was particularly good at spotting them and stood her ground most of the time while the rest ran for cover or froze behind her. Unfortunately, she was on the losing end of a Coopers Hawk this morning while I was @ work.

    Happier times in the safety of the coop
    [​IMG]


    The results of a Coopers Hawk attack
    [​IMG]

    Its going to be SSS if I see that hawk around...
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. epeloquin

    epeloquin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am very sorry about your lost hen.

    My girls have an enclosed run attached to their coop so they can be out all day in safety. We just have to supervise them in the yard because of the hawks. Just a note of caution, I know it must very disturbing to lose a hen in that way, but all hawks are federally protected. Big fines for harming of killing them.

    Do you have a run for your girls or do they run in the yard?
     
  4. real_redhead

    real_redhead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You won't believe this but today as usual when the kids got home from school I told them they had to go let the chickens out and keep watch for the hawk who has been hanging around (I have not let them out unsupervised since this summer when a coopers hawk was sitting on the tree tight beside the run waiting for his dinner, now I only let the girls out when someone is out with them and this has become one of the kids chores to let the girls out for at least 30 min each day regardless of weather and stay with them). Not 5 min. after my son ( who is turning 11 tomorrow) let them out he comes running in for the treat container, I ask him what are you doing (since he just let them out it wasn't time to put them up) and he says, the girls are squawking like crazy (which means they have spotted something that frightened them). So out we go to put them up, some had already went into the run, and there were still a handful out under a shrub. feathers sticking up and squawking like crazy. So I called them to go in and they wouldn't until I walked into the middle of the yard and there go 2 or 3 running like mad to get in the run. Well 3 of them decided they didn't want to come and were hiding under the shrubs. So my son closes the run door and comes to help me, I looked around but didn't see anything and my main concern was getting the girls in. My son gets Haley (she is a banty). He is walking up the sidewalk holding Haley when a HAWK comes swooping across the yard right at him. It was CRAZY, imagine your child getting attacked by a hawk! It flew right at him, he ducked and Haley freaked out and jumped out of his hands. The Hawk attacks her and I go running trying to get the Hawk off of Haley (might not have been the smartest thing to do but at that moment I wasn't sure if my son had been hit and I didn't want the Hawk flying off with Haley). I started screaming and my son and I both went after the Hawk, the hawk hit the fence and Haley ran to the other 2 girls who were hiding out under the shrubs. Poor Haley lost a lot of feather but otherwise wasn't hurt. Then we had to get them all in without the Hawk attacking again. We managed but that was the craziest thing I have ever seen. I always wondered if a hawk would attack when we had a chicken close by and now I know, that must be one hungry hawk. The girls won't be free ranging any time soon! I wish I had had the camera!! My son thinks it was pretty cool. I still can't believe it!!
     
  5. epeloquin

    epeloquin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is crazy!!! Unfortunately, that hawk has tasted chicken and knows that they are relatively easy to kill so he will come back. I have heard of people with red-tailed hawks going at chickens right in front of them. I even heard of one person who had a red-tailed hawk pin down a chicken right in front of them and would not fly off until they swatted it with a broom. I agree with you, as much as your chickens won't like it, I would not give them any yard time for quite a while. You can only hope that the Cooper's will lose interest after a while, although he will probably still come around look for an opportunity.
    I am really glad it all worked out for you today. Scary, scary stuff. If you ever get video or pics please post them or send them to me, I would definitely be interested.
     
  6. epeloquin

    epeloquin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also find it amazing that your girls made such a racket when the hawk was around. My girls normally freeze like statues (except once) and make the whistling/purring sound I mentioned earlier. I have definitely learned to watch their behavior closely though. We live just a couple miles from an Air Reserve Base with huge C-5 Cargo planes and F-15 fighters from another base nearby and they don't pay any attention to the planes at all. They only get nervous with crows if it is a large murder of them, just a few they don't bother. But, if a raptor is anywhere in sight they catch it. I can always tell when they see something but it usually takes me a while to find it, except the time when the Cooper's was sitting right above their coop. Scary, reminds me of what you've had happen.
     
  7. calmwinds

    calmwinds Out Of The Brooder

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    That is really scary and glad all is well from that attack but sorry for your loss. I know wildlife is only trying to survive but I guess we make it too easy for them with our flocks/ pets
     
  8. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My free-ranging chickens almost always make a purring sound whenever they see a hawk or hear the local Barred Owls calling in the woods (the chickens most frequently "purr" when they are roosting and hear something).
    However, my chickens will occasionally "purr" for no apparent reason. One time, my rooster Big Moe began to "purr" non-stop for a minute or more, even when there was nothing wrong (he's very talkative).
    Common hawks in my area are Red-Tailed Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, and Sharp-Shinned Hawks (Sharp-Shinned Hawks pose no threat to my chickens, since they are too small). Maybe a large female Sharp-Shinned (which can rival the size of a male Cooper's) would attempt to take a small chicken, but I've never heard or seen it before.
     
  9. real_redhead

    real_redhead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Roanoke, VA
    [​IMG]
    Here is one picture of a hawk that was hanging around over the summer. The one I caught sitting in the tree this week was sitting lower on the same branch. I can't find the cord to hook my camera up to the computer to get the picture of the hawk from this week, which I believe is the same Coopers hawk who attacked my son and banty yesterday. As soon as I find the cord I will post that picture. This picture above is clear on my computer but when I paste it here it isn't as clear??
    [​IMG]
    This one might be a little clearer?
     
  10. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The bottom picture looks fine to me. That's definitely an immature Cooper's Hawk. I've almost always had immature hawks prey on my chickens, such as the Red-Tailed and Cooper's.
     

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