Sleuth for Hawk Signs

Discussion in 'Parasites, Pests, & Predators' started by Closed Flock, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. Closed Flock

    Closed Flock Member

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    One of my favorite things to do is walk around property looking for wildlife and signs of their activity. Most of the times the dogs lead the way. We do not loose many chickens to predators, but when we do, changes are made quick to prevent a serial killer from establishing. In this case dogs found a feather pile that was wrong color and feather size to be a chicken. Looking closer my old dog started sniffing around it messing with something that was not feathers. First feathers dislodged where to the right. A smaller pile was found about 20 feet to right of what you see so bird was first being handled somewhere in that direction. Birds around here have a lot more feathers and they are not evident where I looked in a fairly large area so most where consumed.
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    You can see the some of the feathers bare distinctive markings of our local morning doves.
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    The scattering of feathers on right had something yellow and brownish-red in it.
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    It is a corn kernel with some digestive tract wrapped partially over it. Since intact in a dove, it had not yet been to the gizzard. To my eye it appears to be plumbing either upstream of crop or the short stretch between the crop and gizzard.
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    The left most pile had other things of interest that at first appeared yellow. My vision no longer so good so had to take a closer look. Intact corn, almost like popcorn, like used in bird feeder. I use much larger field corn. Crop contents were discarded here.
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    Then there was the reddish things. Looking closer, they are legs with really short drumsticks typical of our doves.
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    Feathers dispersed with a lot of eating on site means a smaller predator like a hawk that could not eat all. A red-tailed hawk could eat entire dove relatively easy but also have a hard time catching one this time of year. We have two smaller hawks that can catch doves when they get a jump on them. Those are the coopers hawk and sharp-shinned hawk. I have both with the former here year round. They both go after my littles, but not when big chickens or dogs are around.

    Dog says this boundary area to my property.
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  2. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    The Red Tails are the only overhead predators I worry about. We've got a few here. Coopers my bantams could run off if they made a try.
     
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  3. Overmountain1

    Overmountain1 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, we have a local resident redtail that is (still) driving ours bonkers daily. He lives we think maybe a half mile from our property. Not an issue for the bigger chickens these days, but def the bantams.

    We have also had to be wary of the black headed vultures that are predatory in the area. It’s really frustrating not being able to do anything about them, either .....
    good find on your property scope-out!
     
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  4. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the pics! We have a variety of hawks and they don't leave much.
     
  5. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    They eat a ton of mice and snakes in the pastures though.
     
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  6. Closed Flock

    Closed Flock Member

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    Most of time signs are not that easy to read. Typically the hawk its prey item on an elevated location where feathers are dispersed as they fall. If not for abundance of feathers, then I would not have looked for the other stuff.

    I have all the hawks typical of the Midwestern US. Some do not hunt because too bushy (Red-tails and Harriers) while the Red-shouldered Hawks do not seem to go after chickens at all. Red-shouldered hawks do not even cause my chickens to give alarm calls, especially during winter where they seem them multiple times per day.
     
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