Mitigating hawk attacks

LamarshFish

Crowing
6 Years
Mar 26, 2015
850
1,449
256
Let me start by saying that I know, to some degree or another, that hawk attacks are not avoidable.

But I am wondering what some of you guys do to mitigate the problem. I have at least one redtail flying around my neighborhood. My pigeons have been on winter lockdown since around December. I have not yet begun loft flying them, but I hope to soon. I am planning on starting loft flying when I start to really see tons of critters out as the spring approaches, so as to put other critters on the hawks' menu rather than pigeons, as I'm aware something like unassuming squirrel is an easier target than a fast flying bird like a pigeon.

What do you guys do?

Only fly during the last 2-3 hours of daylight, with the mentality that hawks presumably have already had their meal?

Chase them away as best you can?

Avoid loft flying as a whole, and only fly them on tosses?

Does anybody go as far as to shoo them away with something like a whistle or throwing something in their direction?

One guy told me that putting out full body canada goose decoys sometimes works....

I hear that crows are relentless harassers of hawks, which makes sense since they are mega intelligent birds. Has anybody given any thought to taking steps to attract crows?

I hear owl decoys scare hawks, but I would think they would also scare my birds unless I could somehow condition my birds to the owl decoy....
 
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Farmer Connie

Gallus gallus domesticus
Feb 28, 2017
17,712
60,785
1,317
Florida Peninsula
My Coop
My Coop
I use distractors...
676A2547.JPG

These help too. Boarder Collie mix. He chills out with the ladies all day and barks at crows/black birds/vultures/squirrels.. Anything in a tree or flying over sounds off this "distraction" device.. Chickens & man's best friend.
 

Thepigeonguy

Songster
Feb 20, 2018
132
377
116
Idaho falls, Idaho, U.S.
Just to address one thing, your homers should have no trouble out flying red tails, they are mostly mammal predators. It’s the coopers and sharpshined Hawks you have to watch out for. These birds specialize in attacking birds and are experts at maneuvering through trees. I have watched these birds hunt and they are really good at ambushing. They prefer lots of trees and dislike city’s. They will come into small neighborhoods. I went through a hawk fase that was centered on these two species. Ask anyone and they will tell you these are the worst. However a red tail can still be a problem if your birds are slow or loiter around. Just the experiences of a teenager. Please remember this is MY experience and may not be a rule of thumb.
 

Kat C

Songster
Feb 25, 2018
269
456
126
Alabama
When we got a rat terrier to stay in our chicken yard our hawk problems went away. She was raised with chickens so she didn't bother them. Probably not all ratties are OK with chickens unless raised with them from very young.. Also planting shrubs in the chicken yard gives cover. I suspect that protecting pigeons is much more difficult. A dog on the ground won't really help a bird in the air.
This on BYC but again for chickens https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...ow-to-protect-your-chickens-from-hawks.47656/
Here is some more info
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife.../FINAL_MS Publisher Layout_Hawks and Owls.pdf
They suggest among other things noise, pyrotechnics, even firing a shotgun in the air but not at the hawk. And this as a last resort.
"Live-trapping and translocating problem hawks and owls is a commonly used non-lethal method of resolving conflict situations with humans and raptors. State and federal permits are required. If possible, experienced bird banders or wildlife professionals with proper training should manage trapping efforts. Landowners and private citizens can safely live-trap hawks and owls if they obtain some instruction and carefully handle birds to ensure the safety of the birds and themselves."
Good luck
 

LamarshFish

Crowing
6 Years
Mar 26, 2015
850
1,449
256
Or how about fake crows paired with a looped recording of crow calls? ?

That might work, but wouldn't fly to well with my neighbors lol!

I just deal with it. Whatever happens, happens. Raptors are protected by Federal laws that are strictly enforced.
I can always hatch more chickens. But only by staying out of prison. They will leave soon enough.

I think chickens are easier to protect than pigeons. Pigeons fly around. Roosters are known to warn the flock, and even attack hawks that are dumb enough to fly down to mess with chickens.

Just to address one thing, your homers should have no trouble out flying red tails, they are mostly mammal predators.

That's certainly true if a redtail decides to chase a pigeon in flight.... but they seldom do that, they attack unassuming pigeons loafing on places like rooftops and such. A stationary pigeon stands little to no chance against a diving bird of prey. But yeah, I think most birds of prey do favor furry ground critters. That is why I was wondering whether any body has had success loft flying when there are critters out at the same time.

even firing a shotgun in the air but not at the hawk. And this as a last resort.

I have heard of folks doing this, and also using whistles and fog horns. You'd have to first ensure that your pigeons are conditioned to not be scared of it though. This whole thing is a head scratcher!
 

LamarshFish

Crowing
6 Years
Mar 26, 2015
850
1,449
256
These help too. Boarder Collie mix. He chills out with the ladies all day and barks at crows/black birds/vultures/squirrels.. Anything in a tree or flying over sounds off this "distraction" device.. Chickens & man's best friend.

When we got a rat terrier to stay in our chicken yard our hawk problems went away.

LPDs are probably one of the best overall solutions to protecting flocks from predators, but unfortunately require the most resources (time, money, etc). I'd think it usually be tough to overcome a rat terrier's instincts to just kill everything, but that's nice to hear. Dogs are the best!
 

LamarshFish

Crowing
6 Years
Mar 26, 2015
850
1,449
256
I have seen the same darn redtail nearly every day around 1-2pm soaring in my neighborhood, including over my house. Just stinks!
 

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