Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Summerlin, May 8, 2009.

  1. Summerlin

    Summerlin In the Brooder

    May 1, 2009
    The clouds and rain we've had since last Friday finally cleared out yesterday morning, which meant I could let my two older chicks out to get some exercise, scratch, etc.. After they'd been out for about an hour, I decided to put a makeshift playpen together and bring the babies out for a little while. All went well and everybody was happy.

    I didn't keep the babies out long, maybe half an hour. First we scooped up the older two, Penelope and mystery-chick, and put them back in their temporary home. Then we collected the babies and brought them back inside. I broke the playpen down and put it away, came inside, washed my hands and opened a cold beer. The second I flopped down on the couch, my youngest daughter came running in the house saying there was an owl in our yard.

    So, thinking it was probably something WAY UP in one of my ancient black walnut trees that would turn out to be a tangle of leaves, I went out with a spotting scope--which I didn't need. It was a Screech Owl and it was *right* over our heads-happily perched on one of the trees my hammock is stretched between. The little rat was sitting right over top of us, I mean..30 feet, if that, from my babies the whole time. I came in the house to get the camera, thinking the commotion would scare him away before I could get back, but he never moved, occasionally looked right at us like "Didn't anybody ever tell you it's rude to stare?"..


    Since it's a Screech Owl, which are pretty small as predator birds go, I'm not worried so much about Penelope at this point (she's the same size or bigger) or the hens I'm eagerly anticipating next week..I'm just wondering if I should be worried about the (and any future) babies? I know they prey on songbirds..are they known to take chicks as well?
  2. Chicks_N_Horses

    Chicks_N_Horses Songster

    Mar 30, 2009
    South Alabama
    Those usually like to stay away from people. They aren't seen as much as the Barred or Great Horned owls. I wouldn't worry too much unless it makes itself a pest. Not to say it wouldn't because if it was hungry enough it will go after easy prey.

    That is a pretty one BTW...Lucky sighting! I have a great horned owl now. He is about ready to go back into the wild [​IMG] Looks to be an Eastern Screech Owl

    ETA: I live in owl country. There are so many here. They roost in trees with our chickens and I have never had an owl get one chicken yet. I have some that just live outside, roost outside and no owl has eaten any. Fox and dogs on the other hand have.
    Last edited: May 8, 2009
  3. Summerlin

    Summerlin In the Brooder

    May 1, 2009
    Quote:For a bird who usually likes to stay away from people, this guy wasn't the least bit shy. LOL I agree, btw, he (?) is gorgeous! The kids left a few minutes after they spotted him, so I ended up lying in the hammock on tortoise-sitting duty while my daughter's Sulcata grazed, and that owl never budged. He was still sitting there at dusk when I gathered Biscuit up to bring her in for the night. When I came inside, I listened to a recording of their calls..and based on what I heard afterward, I think I picked up on 3 on and very near my property.

    I hadn't heard of them taking chicks, but like you say, I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility. I have no intentions of trying to run him off unless he becomes an obvious problem. Thanks for the feedback and good luck with the release of your GHO!
  4. chixie

    chixie Songster

    Apr 6, 2009
    kountze texas
    I have several owls and hawks that hang out on my property and I have never had them get any of my chickens/ducks... my own dogs killed one of my rabbits, and two ducks one night when my donkey got out of his pasture and open the gate to their pen...
  5. lone cedar farm

    lone cedar farm Songster

    Jan 25, 2009
    Menlo, Ga.
    The little screetch owl is the coolist of all owls to me, they like to sit in cedar trees here and let you get so close you could actualy grab it....but I wouldnt! They eat lots of mice, small snakes, lizards, even a grasshopper or two. [​IMG]

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