Crossing the Road
14 Years
Sep 19, 2009
Holts Summit, Missouri
Our whole family was out on front porch with Ralph (Dominique cross) and his juveniles offspring sitting under the SUV. A juvenile male Coopers hawk came flying in at a juvenile with wings hitting car before going in a different direction. The targeted chicken is heavier than hawk but would be easy to kill if alone. Chicken was not alone by far. Ralph was just on other side of vehicle and he did see hawk and would likely have done battle with it. The real backup was Scoob (dog) sitting in garage. Scoob could not see goings on but if a chicken would have made an alarm he would be there in a flash making so hawk would be getting pummeled and likely chomped all within a few seconds. Hawks are moving south now so those not knowing risks of hunting my flock are going to be facing them.
About 8 hours later another south moving Coopers Hawk, this time a juvenile female took one of Brownies chicks! This occurred when I went on trip to swap out vehicles and took dog along to ride. The juvenile male going through this morning would have a hard time packing off chick without being flogged by an adult chicken but a female could do it. When Scoob and I got home and out of car the hawk was working pens trying to flush chicks away from cover / hens but did not succeed. Then it flew over yard where I pointed it causing Scoob to run under it as it flew off to tree about 600 feet to north east of house. Chickens quickly forgot about hawk but I did not. After about 20 minutes it made an attack run low and fast towards Ralph's brood but this go Scoob and Lucy ran it causing hawk to pull up. I was able to see hawk far sooner than chickens so I am now confident we can seem better than chickens when it comes to things far away. Once Brownies chicks know hawk is about they now hide so they had to loose a sibling to get properly concerned. This is not over.
When talking about hawks, there are always a lot of posts about SSS since hawks are protected.

So what are the repercussions if a dog kills a hawk?!?

Found presumed lost chick alive way into back yard. Count is still six chicks although hawk still trying to be a problem. I can see hawks primary targets, mocking birds feeding on sumac berries in front yard. Entire fence to north of property is loaded with berries and cover so makes for a good stop over for south heading song birds. The Coopers and Sharp-shinned seem to have now problem locating such locations and hunting them hard. All makes for some interesting observations but also means more hungry and naïve hawks will be eyeing my birds.

Brownie with six chicks after wayward was reunited with her. Two are behind her darn it.

Ralph and Scoob standing guard.

Relative sizes of Brownies chicks and Ralph's juveniles.

When talking about hawks, there are always a lot of posts about SSS since hawks are protected.

So what are the repercussions if a dog kills a hawk?!?

That I am not sure of. Hawk would be harmed in act of going after livestock by another animal in a situation where hawk has total freedom of movement. The dog would not be set out exclusively with purpose of harming hawk. In many ways damage to hawk might be viewed similar to damage caused by hawk colliding with wire of a pen. If a bird is damaged, then it will be turned into the state conservation department so they can make a call. If nothing else information can be used to provide another example of hazards the birds must deal with. Since hawks seen so far this year that have been commiting all the acts of stupid are young, my guess their own worst enemy for surviving the next 8 months or so will be themselves. I am not an advocate of SSS and do not like the mentality that goes with it.
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I was being a little facetious the first time round, but I am glad I asked because I hadn't really thought about if the hawk were just injured. Also, didn't think about what to do with the body if the dog did kill the hawk. My first instinct would be to bury it or burn it like any other dead thing. If the dog does kill it, do you turn the body in to fish and wildlife wardens?
I would not make distinction between dead and injured. Injured bird would be policed up if practical and turned in just like a dead. It is my opinion rehabilitation efforts with such young raptors with high first year mortality rates is not worth effort unless is to be used as a training exercise. Such resources are better spent on adults with better survival odds post release or on something that is otherwise threatened because of low population size. The greatest value would be in the data such as what is a the condition of a migrant that would take such risks going after chickens.

I wish I could have my camera out when the birds actually come in to hunt. The behavior is very interesting. They are fast but not as fast as you might think but boy can they maneuver.
Pictured below is primary reason I am seeing so much Coopers Hawk every year about this time every year through the middle of October. The fence row provides dense cover with fuel (berries) making so the number of songbirds is high. Many more birds are present on cover than might be seen flying about. Most are currently warblers and some type flycatcher that looks like a phoebe. They fly very little and most will leave tonight. During day Coopers Hawk will come in and try to flush them from the cover.

The first patch is female sweet sumac that has berries.

Second is a male patch of sumac that lacks berries but still provides cover. Sumac is darker strip across middle while foreground is dominated by ragweed which also provides excellent cover.

Chickens have in past years used the same areas as cover and when doing so where very well protected from hawks. If a hawk were to drop down into it after a chicken, the chickens, especially the rooster had a decided advantage where they are actually faster and able to put their superior size against the hawk.

This is what I call cover. Plants are 8' tall and patches are 20' wide minimum and much longer.
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