So yesterday I was heart broken to find my sliver laced Cochin bantam rooster, Fancy, dead in my yard. I for the life of me can't figure out what killed him. The theory that I am currently running with is that a hawk or something tried to pick him up, but either didn't have a good grip or he was too heavy and then dropped him and he landed on his head and broke is neck. When I did my chicken autopsy I could only find one small puncture near his tail that looked like a talon and then a few tiny superficial bloody patches where some feathers had been. What would kill a chicken and then just leave it? Any thoughts guys?
Several times his week I have seen 2 big birds of prey (solid dark brown underneath) circling over my backyard. My neighbor up the street who also has chickens has seen them too and thought them to be hawks. But when I looked up hawks and eagles native in Maryland, none of them had a solid brown coloring underneath except for the Golden Eagle. First, may I state that I'm surprised golden eagles are even on that list and secondly, I seriously doubt that I have a mating pair of golden eagles scoping out my house. If I did, I wouldn't know whether to feel honored or terrified. I also thought they might be vultures, which would fit the size and dark coloring, but these birds were far too majestic and circling low and clearly hunting.
I live in southern Anne Arundel county, Maryland if that helps with narrowing down different species.
Oh yeah and for an amusing, dramatic visual, as soon as I scooped up my dear dead Fancy, it stared to pour down rain.
I would like to thank everybody for their ideas, help and sympathies I'm thinking and agreeing more and more with the hawk people. I'm going to have to rule out dog mainly because no dog could have gotten to him and there are no strays around here. As for black vultures, I don't think they did it, but there are a ton in this area and just this summer I saw one attack and injure a live 300 lb pig. Just a not so fun fact there.
It wasn't a hawk it was a cat hawks do not do that (being a falconer I know) cats are the only animals that will do that
It was not a hawk hawks do not kill for fun and leave the carcass only cats do