Did the crows just save my chicks???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by cookiesdaddy, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. cookiesdaddy

    cookiesdaddy Songster

    Apr 13, 2007
    California Bay Area
    This afternoon I let my chicks (3 weeks old) playing in the yard while I was constructing the coop. After about an hour I noticed some loud noise in the sky. Looking up I saw about 3-4 black crows chasing a large hawk. The hawk seemed persistent but eventually flew away.

    I've never saw a hawk this close to my house before! Was it because it spotted my 4 chicks? There are all kinds of small animals around my back yard - sparrows, jays, squirrels, etc. Are hawks more attracted to chickens than these animals? And why do crows chase hawks? I'd think the other way around, because hawks are much larger than crows. Should I worry about crows as predators too?

    Would a hawk attack the chickens even with a human standing around?

    Told you I had lots of questions. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
  2. pegbo

    pegbo Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    I would say yes the crows saved your chicks! I've noticed whenever I hear the crows making a ruckus it's because they have spotted a hawk. They will chase the hawks away, tho I don't know why they do this. It's like an early warning system and I for one always listen for the crows.[​IMG]
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Oh my! Please be carefull, now that it knows where "lunch" is. It will come back..if it thinks it can grab a chick...with you there or not! They are brazen little carnivores! I also heard a crow will take a baby chick....not really sure on this tho. I have never seen it happen. Glad all is safe!!
  4. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    Beware of the hawk. Here in OK we have Red tailed hawks I call them all Chicken Hawks and picture the one from the Fog Horn Leg Horn cartoon when I say it. I have lost 2 girls to a hawk. Now they dont get out to free range unless I stay right with them usually only an hour or so right before dusk. Never heard the crows harrassing the hawks though.
  5. MoonGoddess

    MoonGoddess Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Philly, PA
    I just wanted to tell you a definite YES, I hawk WILL fly off with a baby right in front of you. And they are FAST. I had a very unfortunate friend who lost her kitten this way. Be careful, the hawk knows what it's after now.
  6. MarkR

    MarkR Songster

    Mar 11, 2007
    Ivy, Virginia
    Crows and starlings will in fact chase hawks. Often bluejays will as well. Oh, and I'd hate to be a hawk that went into the mockingbird's territory in my front yard.

  7. bayouchica

    bayouchica Songster

    Jan 23, 2007
    N.E. Louisiana
    We have a few crows around & yes they are good at chasing off hawks & owls round these parts.
    I love the "birds in blue" blue jays are welcome here they are the best at alerting my flock when danger is near.The other day there were some pitching a fit & come to find out it was a 4 foot long kingsnake on the ground. [​IMG] Good birdies !!

  8. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    Crows are awesome birds. They are definately an early warning system for hawks and great to have around.
    We have a family of 7 that nests nearby and I am always amazed at their dynamics. They even post sentries as the deer herds move across our property to 'guide' them across, often landing to one side or the other to 'steer' wandering does or fawns in the right direction!!
    Just love crows. Named our little spread "White Crow" after a white (not albino) crow that used to live here and grace our lives.
  9. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    What you saw is what they call mobbing behavior. The crows are probably nesting near by and they are defending their territory. I have seen starlings and the such mob much bigger birds. I would be just as worried about the crows. They have their own chicks to feed. I would say full size chickens would not be threaten, but baby chicks could. I have even wittness songbirds of different kinds even join together to mob a cat that was stalking a fledginling(sp?) robin. It is pretty hard for a hawk to grab mobbing birds, it seems they don't know how to react to it.
  10. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    Would a hawk attack the chickens even with a human standing around?

    Yes and no.

    For one, it depends on whether or not you are truly "standing around." For instance, if you are sitting in the shade sipping iced tea, watching your flock, then YES the hawk probably won't notice you and it will just focus on the birds. If you are replacing water dishes, sweeping the walkway, etc then the hawk will see you moving around and will avoid the area.

    Some hawks are more cautious than others. For instance, a cooper's hawk is likely to grab a chicken even with you standing right there. Red tails, on the other hand, are a bit shyer and if you are in the vicinity, they would probably not come down to grab a chicken. This does you no good, of course, if you are not there!

    Oh, and last thing. Crows will eat defenseless small chicks, absolutely. However, they are no match for an angry mother hen. Therefore, if your hen is attentive, they aren't a real threat.

    Good luck. I hope your mobbing crows stay around- they are a good defense system against passing hawks.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: