Duck lost to hawk

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
3,350
8,415
656
Stillwater, OK
Hello All, we had five Welsh Harlequin and two domestic mallard girls, 8 mo old, hatched by us and all laying eggs. we escort them to our small pond after they lay, then escort to the coop before dusk. They mostly stay in the pond, but sometimes forage on shore, which has always made me nervous. Today when I went to get them, I startled a hawk (red tailed or red shouldered) from a tree by the pond, the ducks all dived, which I haven’t seen before, as the hawk circled the pond then flew off. Ducks were still nervous, and my heart sank when we were missing a mallard. Found her three feet from the pond edge, body and head intact but neck vertebrae picked clean of meat, top and bottom, and some upper back plucked and muscle eaten. Abdomen/guts were not opened. Such delicate picking seemed like the hawk to me. However, I also found fresh coyote scat nearby. Anyone able to verify whether this earring pattern is most likely a hawk kill? Couldn’t stand to take a pic of her mauled body, so here’s a pic of the ducks on a happier day.
 

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Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
3,350
8,415
656
Stillwater, OK
Hawk kill, and the bugger will be back. Can you keep your ducks penned in a covered run for a bit ?
Yes, I will leave the ducks in the secure run with the chickens for awhile. We have free range Guineas too - hoping that they are up to evading a hawk. We live in an area with a ton of hawks, mostly red-tailed who are big poultry predators, so when a red-shouldered started hanging out but not going after the Guineas or ducks, I hoped he would keep the other hawks away. I wish I could have identified today’s hawk as I’m worried that our resident red-shouldered may have turned poultry eater as winter kicked in...
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
3,350
8,415
656
Stillwater, OK
Update: My husband the pro birder woke me up to show me a juvenile red-tailed hawk on the ground where our duck was killed, looking for her remains to eat. So, it looks like the resident red-shouldered wasn’t the culprit, probably chased off by the crows we often feed. Crows weren’t fed this past week while hubby was out of town, so their scarcity may have let the red-tailed hunt here. As we watched, blue-jays, which we also feed, noticed the hawk and drove him off.
 

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