Red Tail Hawk Problem

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by seanengler, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. seanengler

    seanengler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alright folks, so here's what we have. I have two Rhode Island Reds that free range my backyard (tract home). There is a large pepper tree, an orange tree and 3 large rose bushes for cover. For the better part of two months now I have had what appears to me to be a small probably juvenile red tail hawk coming and checking out the yard. Upon sighting the hawk the two hens immediately sound the alarm and seek cover under the large trees or even better under the rose bushes and are pretty much out of sight. The hawk however likes to sit on a perch atop our pepper tree, maybe 30-40 feet in the air. He just hangs out until I run out there and wave my hands or spray the hose at him. This has happened probably twice a week for about two months now. The hawk itself is probably 1/2 to 2/3 the size of the hens which is what I think is keeping them alive, due to the fact they're full grown and he's not. He's never made so much as a dive at them, just sits and watches. He's really an amazing bird, so beautiful, but he's starting to worry me. About 10 minutes ago he got brave and instead of going to his high perch to watch the girls, he came down and sat on the BBQ and again they sounded the alarm and went out of sight. Hearing the squawking I ran out there to find him on the BBQ instead of the tree which really concerns me. He's getting bolder but still looks about the same size. I am a hunter so I don't have reservations about eliminating the threat, except it is illegal to hunt raptors here in California. So that leaves me pretty much stuck as far as my options go. I could have the county come out and trap and relocate the hawk, but odds are another one would find the hens eventually and having the county out wouldn't work out very well seeing as how I am in violation owning the chickens haha. SO, does anybody have any methods of deterring hawks? Or what about trapping them on your own? Anybody ever seen this done or tried this?

    Secondly, I am in Orange County, California and if anyone in any surrounding areas has predator problems they would like "eliminated", please PM me and my services are free. Thanks!

    -Sean
     
  2. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have hawks hanging around all the time - they are a constant threat. Red tails, coopers, and sharp shinned. I don't kill predators because there are so many people, and more and more are raising backyard livestock and finding themselves in conflict with wildlife. Not a good sign for the future of these species.

    Basically, I've adapted my own habits to make myself the guard animal. LOL. Chickens locked up all morning while I am not home. They free range for the afternoon while I do yard/garden work, or bring out some books or a laptop to get some work done. Hawks usually keep their distance with me out there, but occasionally one comes down and we've had some really close calls - I once literally pulled a coopers off a chicken. Chicken unharmed. No actual losses to hawks.

    I think you are right that another one eventually comes along to fill the unoccupied niche after you kill one. A friend of mine in this town is at constant war with predators, shooting hawks, coyotes, foxes and fishers, and she's still losing chickens. Whatever she kills, another one comes...eventually. I've lost only two to predators - one to a fox and one to a neighbor's dog, even though I've had up to 18 chickens running around the yard at a time.

    I don't think war on predators is sustainable in a world so full of people. I don't know what the history is your area, but here in New England we extirpated many predators in the 1800s. Some have rebounded with reforestation, but we are once again losing forested land, and these animals might not have a second chance next time around. I'm sure, though, that others here will tell you to kill it.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Killing and relocating not practical for legal and homing ability of hawk related reasons. Are you certain of species ID? Need a picture. Juveniles not going to be smaller once out of nest. Ferruginous Hawk, slightly larger than red-tailed might pose threat as well.


    Do you have dog. Most hawks do not like hunting anywhere near a dog.
     
  4. tweetyflights

    tweetyflights Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i'm not so sure about the killing laws in calafornia but i'd suggest relocating or secret kill [​IMG] but those hawks aren't afraid of much! just today i was out with my pet quail, and out of no where this coopers hawk swoops over me and grabs my quail, luckily i scared the thing away and my quail was unharmed. but the hawk came even though i was right there, my dog was out as well as neighbours out in their yards. all this happened at about noon. even if you did relocate others might come or it might return your best bet would be to call the local wildlife center
     
  5. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agree with Tweety in that I don't think a dog necessarily helps....unless it has been trained to protect the chickens. I know of several families with dogs out in the yard, but they still lose chickens to hawks.

    It might not be a red tail, but it doesn't matter. If it has been hanging around your chickens it is probably hoping to eat one, whatever kind of hawk it is. Maybe you could keep the chickens locked up for a couple weeks until the hawk moves on?
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Fella's,

    You have an interaction between predator (hawk), prey (chicken) and complicator (dog). If hawk cannot fly with quarry, then it will not tangle with prey when a high risk factor (i.e. dog) is in close proximity. Quail with ballsy Cooper's Hawk a very different situation. Dogs on chain not effective either. Hawk species is extremely important as well.
     
  7. seanengler

    seanengler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I DO have a dog, except my dogs are both 14 and lift their head when they see the hawk and sigh then go back to sleep, it's pretty comical, a lot of help they are!

    I think I am just going to keep a close eye and leave things the way they are, killing a hawk for just doing what they do best doesn't seem fair, and killing or relocating would just spare some time before a new one came along. So far I feel pretty lucky that my hens are so aware of their surroundings, they constantly look up during the day and every time the hawk has been there they squawk ridiculously loud and are in the coop before I can even get in the yard.
     
  8. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Love your attitude, Sean. Good luck.
     
  9. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like you are on the right track. I suppose the ideal would be to aversion-train the hawk who "owns" your yard, turning it off your birds without eliminating. Kinda like the idea of harassing bears with dogs in certain parks. Any ideas other than the hose folks? What would pepper spray do? Something sticky like sugar water in a sprayer? Big fluffy mop on a longer, lightweight handle?

    ???
     
  10. pawprint2104

    pawprint2104 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:To be clear: It is quite illegal to kill or relocate a bird of prey in California. The local wildlife centers are not responsible for protecting our chickens. If we have hawks in our area (I do.), we need to apply appropriate protective measures without harming the native raptors.
     

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