increased hawk aggression

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by smarsh, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. smarsh

    smarsh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    lexington, KY
    I don't know if it is an increase in numbers, thus competition for food, or just city hawks that are used to people, or what. After 8 years with only one hawk attack of no consequence, I can't leave them out for 5 minutes any more. I can't count the number of attacks in the last year, but I know of 6 hits, and 1 kill. And most all of it happening with me standing close by. I had a red-tailed that showed little fear of me, making passes at the hens with me running interference to the point it had to alter its course around me. It finally got run over in the road in front on our house. since then it has been Cooper's Hawks every time I let them run. I actually caught one immature male cooper's with my bare hands. It was under the butterfly bush where it had made the kill, looking for the corpse. I rushed the bush and got him entangled trying to escape. I didn't actually hurt the bird, but put the fear in him. Hard to believe that something that weighs less than a pound got take in a hen weighing 6 to 7 times that. He has not been back but now an adult female is chasing chickens right in front of me. She chased a hen around the table legs of the patio furniture with me insight last night. I guess I am just going to stop letting them out at all. Gone are the days of letting them run unwatched all day, that's for sure.
  2. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    I have kind of been under siege by red tailed hawks here myself. I had one that was coming while I was at work and going after my young chickens leaving my adults alone. It had killed 3 when my roommate happened to be home one day and heard commotion out by the chickens. He went out and saw the hawk sitting on a freshly killed pullet. The hawk didn't fly away it just stared him down while he grabbed a shovel and walked up to it and hit it on the head killing it instantly. Now I know you are not supposed to kill them but it had killed multiple birds and wasn't afraid of people. The deaths stopped but now he has seen another hawk sitting on the fence watching the chickens a couple of times.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I've had five hawk attacks this year; four of them were bantams killed. My birds are locked in again after the last episode ten days ago. It does seem like more this year than average, but it varies over the years. I keep the flock in for ten days to three weeks to get the offending bird to move on. Hawk attacks are much less of a problem than dogs or foxes in daytime, and the safe coop and run keeps those rotten raccoons and possums away. Chickens are on everyone's menu! Mary
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    No hawks attacks on flock at home although at work we have now less than six Red-tailed Hawks working an 80 acre research (plants and small ruminants) visible from my office. Same area supports at least a couple of American Kestrels. Most years you would see one of each species at anyone time. The hawks also spend a lot of time just standing on ground. Hawks also very abundant along roadways. Locally abundance appears real although I do not know if it is because birds simply not moving on south or population is truly larger. This an El Nino year following a mild summer so stars aligned differently.
  5. cafrhe

    cafrhe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2014
    Western central NJ
    I just posted in the NJ forum. I am wondering if I just got unlucky this year with the migration. Our resident hawks never seem to come after the chickens summer and winter, but I have had several hits this past spring and 2 hits this fall, on in Oct and one yesterday--with 1 death.

    Hawks havent hit my main layer flock yet even though they are pastured. I wonder if the big barred rock rooster is a deterent. I have 2 groups of fewer chickens-1 with a large Ameraucana Roo and one who didnt have a roo until 4 weeks ago-but he is much smaller than the other 2. That pen has been hit 2x this fall. They are much smaller than the layers (but not bantam) and now have heavy deer fence netting over the run (put that up just after the 1st fall hit and death of an expensive chicken!).

    Something hit that run again yesterday and even though I immediately reacted to the rooster calls, I saw nothing. It had all the earmarks of an aerial attack, but I am amazed that I was outside with in 7 seconds and still did not see the predator. My assumption would be redtail, but I wonder if it was a smaller hawk this time and therefore got out of the netting more quickly (the redtails dont seem to move that quickly when leaving).

    I hate that I am not seeing any birds stalking my property, but am getting random attacks even when I have been outside recently and am home most of the day.

    Do the migrating hawks just do a fly by and quickly attack, or do they scope out the area for longer periods of time?
  6. MikeTheGardener

    MikeTheGardener Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 3, 2014
    New Jersey
    We have 1 hawk (that I know of) that is constantly around our area. I have enclosed a pen area for our girls to keep that bugger out. So far it's working.
  7. smarsh

    smarsh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    lexington, KY
    cooper's hawks generally hunt on the move, they aim to surprise birds that they come upon. But they can also lay in wait at bird feeders and the like where they know birds will congregate. Your soaring hawks of which the Red-tailed is either soar, sometimes at very high altitudes, or perch. the Red-tailed that hit my flock while I was tending them had apparently seen they were out some distance away and came in at tree top height, hiding its approach as long as it could by tree cover. It did this twice but also set atop a pole just out of the yard and made a dive when I only opened the gate to the run and a hen came to the opening. I closed the gate quickly and it landed on the limb just 10 feet above me, never looked at me just watched the hens inside.

    as for roosters, they most certainly are not only a deterrent, but also an attacker when they have not deterred. While they work great on hawks and some smaller attackers that can be bluffed, like cats, they are generally just the first kill by members of the dog family, and of course useless on night time prowlers. I have seen a rooster run a cooper's hawk off, and slam a cat that was on the back of a hen. that cat remained in the neighborhood for years, but always swung wide on the chickens after that.
  8. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    When I hear of a hawk showing an amazing lack of fear of a human, I often wonder if this particular bird was a rehab/release specimen. Cooper's Hawks have always amazed me with their bold attacks. I've had them zip right past me to knock sparrows out of Cypress Trees. I've seen a flock of Kestrels hunt in a group-they hovered in a horseshoe formation a few feet over grassy meadow. Every so often one would take a dive only to return to the formation. I can only assume they were eating the giant grasshoppers that live there. I have a Red-tail pair nest on our property for who knows how long. I hear them more than I see them although two springs ago I caught them mating in a tree only about 20 yards from me. The hawks hang around most of the year but disappear during deer hunting season. While this pair have never really paid attention to my chickens-these hens don't leave the coop-the hawks have really kept the rodent population down. However, when this pair are feeding their young, I have a tendency to see them at work. Feeding offspring is difficult and parent birds are apt to take to more brazen behavior They are usually stalking wild turkey poults, mocking birds, cardinals and so forth. Of course the crows gang up on the hawks-not as a favor to us- but to decrease competition for food. Crows will eat fluffy chicks, insects, road kill, and heckle the family cat if so desired.

    Who knows why hawks are being so brazen? Maybe lack of food, lack of experience, disease process, or simply tempted by those fluffy drumsticks moseying across the yard.
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    It is simply a lack of persecution. Most hawks likely have never had problems with humans and their parents may not have taught fear of humans to their offspring.
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    When i was a youngster even the local Methodist preacher rode around with a loaded 12 gauge in his front seat. The object being ready to shoot any hawk off of the power lines. No on in a car could drive closer than 200 yards of a sitting hawk before it was off into the wild blue yonder.

    Today people on BYC report on hawks hitting chickens within 5 feet of humans. The simple truth is that decades of easy living has created a hawk with no fear of man.

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