Our little flock watchers

sumi

Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,155
25,417
1,302
We let our chickens free range on our farm and we do have a predator problems. We have a really cute animal here called a mongoose, who unfortunately loves chickens.
But we found over time that we also have a little bird here, called a Shrike a.k.a. butcher bird, who hates mongoose.

My DH was the first to realise that every time a mongoose sets foot anywhere near our chickens these little birds go nuts! They have a very distinctive call and whenever we hear it we go outside, follow the sound and chase off the mongoose.
Recently one of these birds decided to take it's duties even more seriously. DH noticed it chasing our young chicks out of the veggie garden. He went to go see what's going on an found MIL's cat, mousing. The bird saw the cat as a predator and chased the chicks back to our house!
Our chickens have since learned to listen for the bird's call as well. I noticed whenever the bird starts it's warning call my chickens run back to the pen. Aren't they clever?

This is what our little flock watcher look like:

 

CountryKitty

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 3, 2012
54
4
30
Nice! Butcher birds are protective of their own young on the ground--I foolishly picked one up as a young teen and one of the parents slapped me upside the face with its entire body, LOL.

Many birds react strongly to a threat like that. My cat Linda (RIP) was a terror to rodents and birds alike. We lived on a campus with lots of trees and a great many birds. She got hold of a young robin one day and no less than 4 adult birds--only one of which was a robin--went after her so that she lost her grip on the youngster who got away. A pair of gorgeous flycatchers made it their mission that summer to harass her every chance they got. I was in the yard one day and spotted them on my roof; DH came out onto the covered porch, and despite not being able to see teh door from their vantage point, must have recognised the sound and came to the edge of the roof, looking down at the grass for the cat--they'd figured out that the opening of the door often meant the cat was being let outside.

Makes you wonder if the people who use the term 'birdbrain' have actually been around birds at all.
 

chickenreferee

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 2, 2012
253
6
93
Statesville, NC
That is SO cool! I've always wanted to see a shrike myself. Awesome that you have one watching over your flock.

At my house we keep an ear open for the mockingbirds, jays, and crows. They are an early hawk warning system.
 

sumi

Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,155
25,417
1,302
I would I could send you all one!
Yesterday I heard the warning call and my DH went out to look. He threw a stone at the spot the bird was pointing at and missed a mongoose by inches. Scared the thing half to death!

We put a new mom and her chicks in the chick pen and every now and then I see the bird sitting on the corner post watching the babies. I know nothing will got anywhere near that pen without us knowing! He's like their little guardian angel.
Another good thing about them is that they hunt. DH saw it catch a small mouse in the garden the other day.
And they attack hawks who comes to check out my flock. I love those birds...
 

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