Predators 101


Crossing the Road
14 Years
Sep 19, 2009
Holts Summit, Missouri
Midterm Exam

23) What should 4-week old chicks and their mother do when Coopers hawk is incoming and cover patch is 50 feet away?
a. Nothing, Coopers hawk not a threat
b. Freeze, Coopers hawks are like Tyrannosaurus rex and can see only movement
c. Scatter and hide
d. Fly with all you got the 50 feet to reach Jim’s pile of bicycles in garage, mom stays back to take on hawk
e. Everybody stays back and fights hawk.

Sallie and her brood chose answer d and all passed. Witnessed this today while feeding.
What a brave Momma
When you say "passed" you mean passed the test right? Not passed away?
No body died.

The exam of life has a lot more questions and the correct answers are age dependent. For younger chicks, the correct answer would be to lay flat in grass and mother should stand her ground and get really animated to direct hawks attention away from chicks. The hawk is after the chicks, not mom.
Yes....a very brave Mama!

I have five babies and had them in the yard running around a couple of days ago...hubby saw a hawk flying overhead (flanked by a couple of smaller birds, no doubt chasing him away from their nests). Hubby and I looked down to the chicks and they were all standing close together and staring at the sky being very quiet. It's amazing how good their instincts are already. Needless to say playtime was over at that point and back to the brooder they went!
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Yes....a very brave Mama!
Normally, with these birds dad would also play a role in defense. While young are still chicks both parents engage hawk. A hen by herself has a hard time defending against acciptor hawks so that may be main reason why rooster helps. Once young become juveniles (no longer tended by mother that clucks) at about 5 to 6 weeks the father takes over and continues their defense through about 12 weeks post hatch.

Picture already a couple weeks old but of hen and chicks. Rooster shown not father, rather a satellite, but he is starting act like a harem master around her and brood and may tend juveniles when weaned. These guys are not the typical backyard fowl, they have many generations of having to protect their own interests in a free-range setting. Hen being fluffed up indicates she is wary of rooster's intentions.

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