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Kestrels and Hawks in the city

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by CreleChick, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. CreleChick

    CreleChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Does anyone else smack in the city-I'm talking major inner city, huge crossroads, buildings etc. have any kestral or hawks? They haven't become a nuisance yet, but the other day I noticed a different looking bird on our telephone pole-and another on the other. Our backyard is 40ft across or just about and there is one on both sides. All I could make out looking into the sun was "zebra finch" black markings on it's face. I thought for a second "What in the world?" and it flew and I saw tapired like swallow-ish wings on it and something in it's claws. It circled and came back to the pole and started eating whatever it was holding. [​IMG] Whoa. My boyfriend was wondering like I was. I said "Mini hawk." It's a kestrel! The chickens absolutely SCREAMED. If any of you have ever had a swooping predator or soaring one you know how they react! The one on the west pole sat and stared. I turned back to the other one still shreaded his victim. I thought "You know, I kind of like them better than the hawk." then I wondered where they've been and where they came from. I'm sure they aren't sharing the hawks territory, or could they? It doesn't seem like that would be a working housing arrangement between the two.

    Three houses down from mine is a huge pine tree of some sort in which the hawk calls home. I don't see em frequently so they must take off in the other direction most times not passing my house. On occasion they soar right over the yard and it sets all 15 of my birds, all of my two neighbor's birds off. This hawk (I'm not sure what he's preying on) usually goes down to the end of the street in a small intersection and swoops fast 90 degrees down. He does it often and I'm not sure what he's after. He comes up with no food and flies back over my yard and goes back to his telephone pole that is right behind his tree which is two poles away from ours. Sits there for an hour or so. Now, I can't recall if I've ever seen a mate for this one, but one day I came outside and heard the hawk on his pole screeching like a desperate call for someone. The poor thing looks lost and lonely.

    The hawk has never shown any threat to my chickens are looked like he thought about them for food. Must be surviving on something else. I also wonder if they (if there was a mate) had chicks. There was a nest visable a while back, but the tree has grown so much I'm not sure if it's still there. We turn out our heavy breed chickens, Cornish, Rocks, Orp, etc and they have plenty of places to hide if they swooped. We have all kinds of overhanging garden plant items and bushy things to hind under as well as cages, porch roof and things underneath it they could not get to them, but they haven't shown any interest in my chickens.

    Yeah...that's the worst sign right there eh? Not acting like they're interested. I only see the hawk maybe once a month or so also.

    For as much as predators these birds are, I guess the point of my thoughts is even though we may panic and hate them for harming our flock, I have to say there is a joy and pleasure to see them right in our backyards (when they're not raising heck of course). Such amazing big birds and some that people never get to see or travel far to be able to see them with no luck.

    Sorry if I'm feeling the peace and beauty of nature this morning [​IMG]
     
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hawks, including kestrels, love chicken and all small mammals, birds and especially rodents. If you do not cover your run you could lose to them. Also, raccoons are dreadful in an urban environment so you may need stronger predaror protection for them. Oh and rats.
     
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Grifton NC
    Hawks, including kestrels, love chicken

    A Kestrel is only about the size of a robin, and not much threat to a chicken

    A Peregrin Falcon looks the same but would be large enough to kill a chicken, although they prefer to hunt flying birds

    Kestrels are most easily distinguished by their typical hunting behaviour which is to hover at a height of around 10–20 metres (33–66 ft) over open country and swoop down on prey, usually small mammals, lizards or large insects

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kestrel
     
  4. Omani

    Omani Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 10, 2009
    Machias,NY
    If it had the "zebra finch" tear like markings, then it was probably a peregrin falcon. We have a pair that nest on City hall every year. They are a black and white bird,as opposed to an american kestrel, which has red and blue markings. Both have pointed wings and swoop down on their prey. Often you will see a pair.
    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/peregrine_falcon/id
     
  5. CreleChick

    CreleChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 6, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    Omani, I really think it was a kestrel. They're really small. -I could be wrong though, I'll check it out- I doubt they could lift a hair on my birds if they tried iif their kestrels. They have similar markings to the Perigrines. [​IMG] You know what, if I ever find my battery charger to my camera with 72X zoom on it (the bird's only 40ft away lol but you could see mites on it and hair folicles if you wanted) I will snap pictures and/or video of it if they come back again.

    This bird looked like it had a mouse or something size relevant-and a hard time carriyng it at that. And 66ft, that's about the height they were.

    And, I am very well aware of the danger these animals are to my flock. Especially hawkie poo that lives next door.
     
  6. CreleChick

    CreleChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 6, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    Prairie Falcon! I'm almost sure that's what they were without seeing them again. I was still, looking into the sun when I saw them, but I knew they were brown looking like female kestrels, and the black markings on the face. It was to bright to see the underside of the wings. Their picture on whatbird.com looks like what I saw closer than a kestrel, and it's for sure not a Peregrine.

    Now I just need to see the hawk again and identify them....



    http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/54/_/Prairie_Falcon.aspx
     
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    We are in a suburb of Chicago but, bordered by forest preserve, so we get all kinds of critters big, small and raptors. I used to watch the hawks and be awestricken watching them soar and then dive. But the last several years I got soured on them. They have gotten so "citified' they just sit on telephone poles or fences and grab birds visiting the feeders.I've seen then tearing their victims apart on the ground, or else find a pile of feathers and just beaks.

    I do think navigating in close city quarters is bad for their health in other ways, a few times I have found kestral bodies on the ground, next to their prey, obviously killed by flying into telephone poles, etc.

    They have certainly lost their "majesty". I do wonder if they lose all their hunting prowess & natural instincts by living such soft lives.They will let me get quite close to photograph them and don't seem the least upset. We have the small kestrals and owls also.

    It's like finding out Superman has let himself go, has a big beer belly & gets breathless just stepping down from the porch steps.
     
  8. mikeksfarmer

    mikeksfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bonner springs KS
    I just put a kestrel box up right in my chicken pen. I want one to eat the mice and sparrows. Kestrels are way cool!
     

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