What time are hawks active?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Chocobo, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    Quote:While hawks are often more active at certain times of day, a hawk can hunt from sunrise to sundown and may take prey at any time.
    So, sadly-- no, there is no absolutely 'safe' time of day.

    Since I live in an area with lots of houses and small yards that are fenced in would the hawks even bother to hunt here?

    As their habitat shrinks and more hawks are adapting to suburban and urban environments, yes-- hawks kills in small yards are becoming more frequent. If there is a hawk in your area it might actually be more of a danger to your flock because urban hawks are less likely to be fearful around humans. Young, first year hawks are often the biggest problem because they are not real smart about what they can and cannot handle in terms of kills, yet. It really depends on your area! You may never see a hawk or you might see them frequently. A merlin regularly takes pigeons right against the side of my parents house, and they have a very small fenced lot (with two large dogs, even!).

    If you are concerned, since you have a small yard you have a few options. Some people have had great success with stringing surveyor's ribbon (often hot pink or orange, and thin like plastic) every few feet, horizontally, from the top of fencing. If this is too gaudy for you, you can also try a heavyweight fishing line.

    We have a lot of red shouldered hawks where I live too, and even though I am very rural they seem less fearful than the other hawk species and are always buzzing my (covered) chicken run when I am out there.
    Screech owls should not be able to take a full grown chicken. Maybe chicks.

    Whatever you decide, best of luck!​
  2. SEHchicks

    SEHchicks Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 3, 2014
    San Marcos, CA
    Very sad today as we lost a chick, all that's left are trail of her feathers... We actually heard frantic and alarming noises from the flock early in the morning, just a minute or two after I let them out, and when I came out to check, I only saw rippling's in the pool water and trail of water leading to the side of the yard where their coop is. I thought she went inside the coop to hide from whatever surprised them, but then I realized she wasn't in there. Robin was the gentlest and quietest one in the four that we got since they were all 5 days old, last May.... We are backed by other houses' yards so we haven't had any issue free ranging since July! We think it's most likely to be a hawk.

    RIP Robin, we all really miss you! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 25, 2012
    The two smaller "Chicken" hawks, the Coopers and Blue Darter hawk find a suburban environment more to their liking than Virgin Wilderness. The Coopers etc. hawks mostly feeds on birds, and the bird baths and feeders found in Suburbia draws "Chicken Hawks like a dead mule draws maggots. The reason is because of an abundance of young, slow, dumb, well fed, and toothsome prey.

    The 1930's desperado Willy Sutton said that he robbed banks because the banks are where the money was. Like Willy Sutton hawks hunt in the Suburbs because that is where the food is.

    Never underestimate the determination of a bird of prey. The Bald Eagle below is incubating his and his mate's eggs.

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  4. frick01

    frick01 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 22, 2015
    I had my chickens at a friend's over the winter. She has lots of woods and a rooster. No one disturbed the hens who free-ranged all over. Now they are back, and so are the hawks: all day long. I live in an open suburban area in Michigan. The hawks are huge maybe because my neighbor has 12 very noisy hens to my quiet ones. I try to stay outside, but I'm very busy and work part-time. I do have a net around their run and am just crossing my fingers. I also have a plastic owl that I move from place to place in the yard. I was told they work. We'll see. So when are hawks? I've actually seen most mid-day and all through the afternoon. I don't sight many early morning, but it is generally cloudy then. I don't want to keep my hens cooped up so I'm going to have to do what I can and hope.
  5. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    My experience with hawk is they can be around any time in the day. full-grown chickens can spot Hawks and go hide. So make sure there are bushes or such nearby. Hawks are silent hunter, so baby sitting your flock is very difficult. Chick are easy prey.
    1 person likes this.
  6. azjustin

    azjustin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2016
    Tucson, AZ
    At any time of any daylight hour, I can find a hawk circling within a 1/2 mile of our house. Sometimes in the hottest part of the summer days (100+ in the shade) they take some time off, but that's only because all their prey is doing the same. During those same days, I've seen them out well before first light, waiting patiently for everybody to wake up for breakfast before it gets hot.

    When we first built our large enclosure, there was some gaps in the chicken wire on the top around 6" and I thought it wasn't a big deal and everyone said the same thing. Lo and behold, I went to the coop first thing in the morning and there was a Harris Hawk in the enclosure, chasing the 6 month old RIRs around! Watching the thing try to get back out of the coop made me wonder how it even got in (wingspan was at least 5'). We sealed up everything after that but now I never doubt the ability of a hawk to get food it has access to, even if they have to work at it.

    That experience was in the spring, during leaner times I would expect even more from them.
  7. Buffy22

    Buffy22 New Egg

    Jun 16, 2016
    While living on a 10000 lot in town with 8' fences, but close to foothills and a creek, I had young hawks come in the afternoon and sit on top of my outdoor aviary, and dive to the sides of the enclosure, once when I was standing next to it.

    For the last 5 years i have been living next to more open hills and pasture land. There are no perimeter fences. There is more wildlife of all kinds. Hawks, owls, raccoon, coyote, snakes, etc. Four yeas ago I had raised 5 hens. I started to let them free range during mid day until dusk. I lost two to hawks in the first two years. So, I kept them locked in a narrow 6'x 70' area, with no roof, and had no losses. Then, this May, they were let to free range all day for 10 days while I was on vacation. Two more hens were taken, only a clump of feathers were found later.. But, I don't know what time of day they were taken.

    Since I live in CA, the weather is usually not cold enough to freeze 50 weeks out f the year. There are hawks soaring over the pastureland most days, (where there are hundreds of ground squirrels), and hawk traffic is heaviest in the late afternoon to early evening. They also fly close to the house, about 15' away from the house windows. They seem to be most active when the warm afternoon air blows upon the hillsides, then they just float and look for dinner.

    The coloring of the hens seemed to make no difference. The first 2 hens taken were Buff Orps, and the next two taken included the last Buff Orp and a dark Barnevelder. The spanish wild oat grass and tall non-native weeds did not deter the hawks.

    Owls tried to take my buff colored 11 lb poodle one time, but I think she was too heavy and was dropped. I later found symmetrical puncture wounds above and below both her shoulders when I was trimming her hair.
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 25, 2012
    I thought that you were allowed to shoot one hawk and if the Po=Po or else the game warden doesn't see you kill the first one, then you can shoot a second one. If you are a stickler for the law it is also illegal to say get-out-of-here to a hawk or else "BOO" because in some circles that is viewed as hawk harassment."
  9. azjustin

    azjustin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2016
    Tucson, AZ
    Legally: Hawks are very much protected class around here.

    Personally: I'd let them live regardless, since out here they're hell on rattley snakes, ground squirrels, flying rats (pigeons and doves), and cottontails. All our poultry is (now) locked up anyways so let them come!
    1 person likes this.
  10. FalconsNest

    FalconsNest Just Hatched

    Jun 16, 2016
    He guys, I'm new and I have a question.
    Do hawks attack adolescent or 2-3 month old chickens during the summer? I have six young birds that I'm allowing to free range. So far, predaters haven't been a problem. Anything you could tell me would be awesome.

    Thanks :D
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016

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