What the heck is going on? Vultures or Hawks?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Birdydeb, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. At this moment I have 30+ vultures or Hawks circling my backyard. It started with 8 or so and has grown to about 30. These birds are dark with white wing tips...vultures? They don't have red heads. I know they have both my chickens and my ducks upset and quiet. When I go outside and sit they circle up higher but when I come inside they move closer and closer to the ground. Really spooky. I don't smell anything dead outside that they could be scoping out. I think my runs are safe with their covers but gee, I don't know about an attack from multiple birds. :(

    Will try to include a pic....

  2. I guess maybe a pre-migratory gathering? I have never seen that before. But I guess is to be expected when you live under the migratory pathway? It was spooky and all of my chickens and ducks were visibly upset and watching. Camera perspective was off....they were a LOT closer than they look. My dogs were watching them too.
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Well, if they are vultures, they don't eat live food. I can usually see yellow beaks on the vultures here. Don't remember white wing tips though. That is kind of eerie!

    I see lots of migrating birds including haws at certain times of year.

    I can't blame your birds for being upset! I probably would be to.

    Cameras often make thing look farther away.

    You might be able to make a loud noise and scare them on to their next destination....
  4. It was very spooky and quiet. Bizarre even. Both of my flocks are still rather subdued even though the birds have finally moved on. I have a feeling it was a pre-migratory gathering. They were not bothered by me and the dogs sitting in the yard watching them but that did make them move up higher. I have tried googling to figure out what they were but they were also in the sun which makes ID difficult. I have a feeling they were juvenile red shouldered Hawks. I finally noticed a red glow under the wings but not on the tail. Both runs, ducks and chickens are covered. The chickens ran under their roofed run and got quiet, a few ran in the chicken house. The duck run is only covered with chicken wire and shade cloth....at one point they all ran back into their house.
  5. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Songster

    Mar 19, 2016
    35.107651, -81.210357
    My Coop
    Those sound like turkey vultures, the ones around here have the white spots on their wings like you say.

    As to their circling, they could have spotted something and are waiting for it to die or they are just taking advantage of a thermal (rising warm air). Many soaring birds will do this. They see someone getting a free ride and will join in on the fun. Sailplane pilots, both full size and model, will often look for birds circling lazily like this.

    As fr your chickens, don't worry, As was pointed out they are carrion eaters. They aren't interested in anything that isn't dead. The 'riper' the better.

  6. Thanks for your input. :) I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to wildlife of any kind......I always want to know what the heck they're doing. LOL I had just never seen anything like this before and it was very weird. They really shook up both of my flocks, ducks and chickens. I had a bizarre thing occur with a hawk earlier in the summer. One was circling my chicken run every morning when I first got my chickens outside. So I decided to go sit in a chair on the patio and watch what it was up to. Imagine my surprise when it veered away from the coop and made a beeline for me! About halfway across the yard it was met by my male Great Pyrenees who jumped straight up in the air and almost got it. Wild....very wild. I was speechless for a few minutes. I've watched Hawks my whole life and never had one fly straight at me before. :p As to this morning....yeah, I have a feeling they were enjoying a thermal....they surely upset my birds though. Just another observation!
  7. Lilki

    Lilki Chirping

    May 9, 2016
    It looks like turkey vultures. They gather in large groups like that. They have an incredible sense of smell. We had four of them circling our yard over a dead rat my husband had shot. They just came out of nowhere.
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    That is a really cool wildlife experience to have!

    I volunteered at a wildlife rehab center where I got to feed a Peregrine falcon, red tail and red shoulder, and Cooper's hawks, golden and bald eagles, American Kestrel, Great Horned, Barn, and Screech owls. Even got to have a bobcat cub climb on me. At another place I got a kiss from a California Sea Lion.

    My sons' girlfriend somehow always has awesome experiences as well.

    My birds run for safety when there is danger as well. They seem at least smart enough for that. Even though they don't seem to understand the concept of flying back over the fence they just crossed!

    Thanks for sharing your "outer limits", "twilight zone" wildlife experience. Hope you have many more that aren't to dangerous or fear inducing! [​IMG]
  9. Lilki

    Lilki Chirping

    May 9, 2016
    My husband had a Red Shouldered hawk come at him one time after he repeatedly interrupted his hunting. It was hunting some wild day old duckies on our pond and my husband shoed them to safety. The hawk got ****** and came right at him, grazing the top of his head.
  10. Excluding the National Bird, the Bald Eagle, there are two primary carrion eaters in the Eastern USA. The Black Vulture and the Turkey Buzzard. The Turkey Buzzard hunts mostly by smell and the Black Vulture by sight. If there is a large dead animal on the ground the Black Vulture will circle over it in hopes of attracting the larger and more powerful Turkey Buzzard so that it can crack open the carcass like you or I would open a walnut. Then feeding can begin.

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