Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kbarrett, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. kbarrett

    kbarrett Songster

    Nov 12, 2007
    I live in Eastern PA. I always worry about red-tailed hawks as they are all over around here. I worry about them when I let the girls free range but (knock on wood) I haven't had an attack in the last 7 years of keeping chickens and only had 1 scare when DH spotted one sitting on top of the run staring at the girls. So happy the run is partially covered and we wired the rest of the top! I knew several species of falcons are native to this area but never really noticed them till a few years ago. I watched one impressively chase and snatch a black bird in mid air in my neighbors' yard. Over the last couple of years I have been noticing them more and more. In fact since last summer I regularly see them swoop through our yard. A couple of weeks ago my husband called me over to the back door where he saw one leave the top of a pine tree and land on the last post of our fence. I got a pretty good look at it and I'm pretty sure it's a peregrine falcon. They're about 2/3 the size of a red-tailed hawk. This morning I had just opened the back door and I saw one swoop out of the pines very low in the air and I could see it had caught a bird. It landed- more like crash landed onto my truck! It ended up by the windshield at the drivers side wiper. From the back door to where I park is probably 30 feet. As it had a bird in hand so to speak, it kind of was semi flapping to keep its balance. I was in shock- mostly that it picked my truck to land on, and as I stood there mouth agape a SECOND one flew over and tried to land on the opposite side! Its' wing caught the antenna and it never really landed but headed towards the wood line. The first falcon looked at me and took off with its' breakfast in the direction of the second falcon. I stood there dumbfounded looking at the small feathers all over the hood and the still vibrating antenna.
    The siting's have been more and more frequent- up to 3-4 times per week. And that's just what I've noticed while not at work. Does anyone know if they would be a threat to my hens? Their run is secure and least from birds of prey but I do like to let them out when I'm home. Due to the time change and shorter days it will not be long till it will be dark when I get home from work so the free ranging will be limited to the weekends. The time I saw one snatch a black bird it looked like it kind of struggled to fly with it so I really don't that they could fly off with a hen?

    Has anyone had a falcon attack?
  2. Rani

    Rani Chirping

    Apr 13, 2014
    By A Lake, Minnesota
    I have not, but I'm curious, too. We have a healthy gang of them and they seem to be keeping a close eye on my hens.
  3. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Songster

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    I raise ducks and chickens, and last year while I was out with them on Sunday afternoon, the ducks all came and ran over to me, as if hiding from something. Movement caught my eye, and I looked up to see a falcon in a dive headed towards me and the ducks. He pulled up about 5 feet above my head, and landed in a nearby tree. I am sure if I had not been there, he would have had duck for dinner. They won't fly off with them, but hit and kill them with a high speed dive / collision, and then have their meal on the ground.

    While not for the faint of heart, if you search youtube for falcons, they have tiny video cameras mounted on pet falcons, and you can see them hunt and capture their prey. They are beautiful birds.
  4. kbarrett

    kbarrett Songster

    Nov 12, 2007

    I have misidentified what I have been seeing...I am 99% sure these are Cooper's Hawks I have been witnessing catching birds around my place. I work about 1/2 mile from my house. My office is offset from the rest of the building in a small L shape and I sit beside a window where I have a view of the side of the building and all of the shrubbery. I heard a thud and looked to my left and saw a large bird drop between the bushes. It was flapping and dancing around the holly bush, then flew up to the side of a pick up and back to the wood border of the shrubbery bed. I got to watch it for a while and had hollered to a coworker to look out her window. We both got a very good look at size and markings and both decided it is a Cooper's Hawk. It saw her at the window and flew off across the street into a tree. We both felt it was watching that holly bush where lots of little birds like to congregate. I'm going to start keeping my cell phone on my desk and hopefully get some pictures!
  5. roosterhavoc

    roosterhavoc Free Ranging

    Jan 5, 2012
    Yep more than likely a Cooper's hawk. I had one today fly straight on at me about 3 ft above my pens. I thought it was a dove at first because I was staring right at him head on. I finally reached up at him as he flew by. I must have missed him by inches. Don't know what he was thinking. He had to have seen me.
    I saw a peregrine falcon the other day. It was hanging around up high for a few days. Watching them truly go into a dive is one of the coolest things you will ever see. Very impressive to say the least.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    Yes, Coopers more probable. They are also prone to use you as cover when hunting smaller game hence the reports the hawks will fly in even with your are there. In my experience they can fly in because you are there.

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