Red-winged Blackbirds Hanging with Chickens in Cover Patch

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,760
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Holts Summit, Missouri
I have four raised gardens overgrown with the larger species of ragweed (~12' tall) we have here. It is largely defoliated although the chicken still in there most of day. Six male Red-winged Black Birds are getting down very close to the chickens for much of the day while the latter are loafing. I think the black birds are counting on additional protection provided from Coopers Hawks by the much larger chickens. The chickens are using the cover more as hawks migrating over a lot lately.
 

Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
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Oklahoma City
That ragweed probably makes a safe place from diving hawks. Kind of like the WWII barrage balloons. Might inspire someone to come up with a cover for open range birds, dead weed stalks hung up off the ground.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,760
19,270
876
Holts Summit, Missouri
I've had had the inspiration for a long time. Variations in stem density appear important. The ragweed patch appears preferred to what is available elsewhere on the property. Patches of wild plump, brambles, and sumac are also available but this ragweed has something magical about it. It may be possible to get the ornamental types of sunflower to provide a similar structure.
 

Molpet

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 7, 2015
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New Lenox township. Illinois USA
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I left the ragweed for the same reason. Had a red tail crash through, late winter, and attack a black meat mutt hen, about 10lbs. 6ft from the house, I heard and it took off as soon as I got out there. I thought she was dead, but when I grabbed a foot I found she was just in shock. Recovered in crate by next morning.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,760
19,270
876
Holts Summit, Missouri
I left the ragweed for the same reason. Had a red tail crash through, late winter, and attack a black meat mutt hen, about 10lbs. 6ft from the house, I heard and it took off as soon as I got out there. I thought she was dead, but when I grabbed a foot I found she was just in shock. Recovered in crate by next morning.
It is not a perfect fix, but attack rate I bet would be higher without the cover patch. I have had no losses to hawks for some time owing to combination of cover patches and a dog (Honey) that loved to chase raptors. She and Flo are harassing owl now.
 
Nov 30, 2021
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Are you sure it was ragweed? Where I live ragweed (12 inches tall) is often confused with goldenrod (which is usually about 6ft tall) as they bloom at the same time. They don't look anything alike though. Just curious as I've never head of tall ragweed like that :)
 

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