All over the country, raptors (hawks & owls) are migrating from their summer breeding grounds toward their winter territories. In some cases this is only a short distance, just trading one type of habitat for another, but a lot of raptors migrate long distances at this time of year. Most of these are immature birds, this year's hatch. (A lot of them won't make it through migration and winter, but right now they outnumber their parents.) They need to eat a lot to sustain the energy necessary for these long journeys. And the immature birds are still learning their trade. What all this means is, lots of DFA (Death From Above) for our chickens! You may not have had any hawks around all summer, but they will suddenly appear and start attacking your chickens. Just yesterday a migrating immature Cooper's Hawk took a nice NH hen, ate part of it, then came back later to try for another... right in the fenced yard next to the house. We ran it off, and so far it hasn't returned - hopefully continued moving south - but there will probably be another along shortly... we're on the West Coast migration route. This also means it won't really help to shoot a bird that attacks your flock. Not only is this illegal, it's ineffective as well, because that bird will likely be replaced by another. Eventually of course if we all did this we'd get back to the way things were 50 years ago, when Cooper's Hawks were rare birds - because farmers had shot so many of them. Even Red-Tailed Hawks, today among the commonest birds in the sky, were decimated in the first half of the 20th century. We don't really want to go there again, and fortunately I don't think we need to. Nowadays we have cheap plastic netting, monofilament line, CDs and other bird-confusers, a whole line of deterrents that weren't available to farmers of yore. So I'm off to string some fishing line and CDs over the chicken yard. Just wanted to give a (somewhat belated) heads-up and maybe help explain why people are suddenly seeing raptors around their chicken yards. Watch out, and good luck!