What Kind of Hawk is this?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Moonchild, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. Moonchild

    Moonchild Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2010
    I saw this hawk last year (before starting to keep chickens) it was chasing little birds. I know it's not a red-tail and I haven't seen a red-tail near my house but I'm not crazy I know they are around. But this Hawk was right outside my windows. I was wondering what kind it is and will it harm a full grown Orp or Rock's. I want to let my chickens out to free range(only under watchful eyes) and now I'm thinking I need to make a large secure run....Oh this great hobby is driving me crazy to make sure all the chicks are safe!!!!!



    Thanks fellow BYC...I learn so much from you all!!!!
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2010
  3. Moonchild

    Moonchild Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2010
    Thank You!
  4. BloominOrchid

    BloominOrchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    Worcester Township
    Yeah but they will eat a chick and chase them on foot. had one take 2 of mine last week [​IMG]
    could also be a Sharp-shinned hawk they are very similar
  5. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    It could be either a sharp-shinned or Cooper's hawk. It's hard to tell as there is nothing to indicate scale/size. A word about these guys- my first loss was to a cooper's hawk. The hawk tried to grab one of my full-grown Wyandotte hens while she was free-ranging. The hawk was literally HALF the size of the hen , so I don't know what it was thinking. Needless to say the attack was not fatal, but it tore my hen to ribbons. That hen ended up living inside my house for over 2 months trying to heal up the mess that hawk made of her. The hawk was seen the next day walking around my tractor trying to find a way in. The whole rest of the summer was spent on lockdown because of the persistence of that little bugger. The hen did survive the attack, but because of her much-changed appearance (bad scars and much permanent feather loss) her flock would never take her back and she had to be re-homed.
  6. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    Cooper Hawk.....had many ringneck pheasant taken by them....yes they will for sure take chickens....their nickname is CHICKEN HAWKS for a reason. Yes fast enought to take pigeons.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  7. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2010
    Albion, California
    It's a juvenile Cooper's Hawk, and as Deerman says, these are the archetypal Chicken Hawks. They probably have taken more chickens than any other raptor. Yes they will kill full-size chickens, no problem. At this time of year the juveniles (first-year birds) are moving around in search of new territory, and they are quite happy to settle in on a flock of chickens for a while before moving on.

    You can tell Cooper's from Sharpies by the tail. As clearly shown in the second photo, Cooper's have rounded corners on their very long tails, whereas on a Sharp-Shinned it is squared off. There are other, more subtle differences (Cooper's are generally larger, have larger heads and longer necks, and thicker legs) but the tail is the best field mark. Juveniles have the streaked breast and brown back speckled with white; adults are gray with rusty barred chests, very pretty birds.

    They are aggressive and persistent predators, specializing in birds. Their short wings are adapted to flying through dense cover - they can crash right through apparently impenetrable trees or brush - and their long legs allow them to reach through brush and grab prey. They attack horizontally, flying low to the ground and zipping around or through bushes and trees.

    On the Raptor Migration thread we are discussing ways to discourage hawks. The best way of course is to completely cover your run, but for large areas this is impractical. I've strung monfilament fishing line criss-crossing all over my run and so far, so good.
  8. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    I agree it is a juvenile Cooper's hawk, and it will take smaller chickens/birds. It is not capable of picking up and hauling off a large chicken (anything over a pound or two). On the ground eating a large fowl would be hazardous. I have had them living around my large chickens for years and never lost a bird. I've observed the Cooper's around me taking the Mourning Doves and those European Collared Doves-- that is about the size of their usual prey. They take them up in the trees and eat the small birds there.

    Once, a young Cooper's, just like the one you have pictured, was after my only Bantam hen. When he would get on the ground, my rooster (8-9 lbs) would run at him and finally scared him off for good. I figured the Cooper's was young, hungry and desperate. I watched this whole thing from my window. There are much easier prey for Cooper's Hawks than large chickens. My rooster would have killed the Cooper's if he'd gotten to him.

    They are called "chicken hawks" because of they commonly take the bantam hens.

    A Sharp -shinned is too small to take anything but the smallest chickens.
  9. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    He is beautiful!
  10. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    I know of Cooper's taking rabbits, so they can tackle fairly big prey, but probably not a large chicken. Where I live, they're terrorizing the killdeer I watch over.

    I was wondering, does anyone else here have killdeer on their property and "use" them to detect hawks? I've noticed that they're sometimes the first bird to sound the alarm/fly off when a hawk is even within their sight (not even in the area, but seen). I think that might be why they're harassing the killdeer--to get them to leave because they're like 10 little alarms to the other birds.

    I may start a new thread about this so not to take attention from the OP's question. I am fascinated by killdeer.

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