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Author Topic: Help dealing with hawks  (Read 3787 times)
Robo
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« on: April 08, 2008, 04:34:31 PM »

Two winter ago while away for a week I lost 5 chickens to a hawk.  When I returned I kept the rest penned up for the rest of the winter.   Last Fall I lost a guinea to a hawk and kept them penned up from that time thru the winter.    Yesterday there was finally enough snow gone that they could start free ranging again so I let them out.  I returned two hours later and found another dead guinea killed by a hawk.   I have seen the hawk, in fact probably prevented another kill because I was just coming out of the coop the one time.  I left one of the carcass out and watched him return to pick at it from the house, but couldn't open the door or window without spooking him and its like 150ft away.   Anyway,  I really want to let the birds free range but I can't let them out until I deal with the hawk.   Anyone have any suggestions??
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2008, 05:43:17 PM »

Hey,

Apparently they are free game if caught in the act of killing your stock in most jurisdictions. In any case I'd employ S.S.S. methodology    lol

What about putting like a gopher trap on top of a carcass??

I thought that guinea's would sound a warning with hawks in daytime and owls at nite when they are roosting if roosting outside is their weak point. Obviously not. I would think once a hawk or dog for that matter made a kill it would be a threat till dealt w/???

cheers

peter
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2008, 05:58:25 PM »

hey Robo,
 I have problems with hawks this year too...More than all the years before. My pigeons are usually killed in the loft..Day before yesterday I hade 2 dead ones on the floor...The hawks get to where they eat only the breast after they realize its easy pickins'. Nabors have seen the pigeons get picked off of the ground from "Air attacks"..They're mostly Coopers hawks...The wildlife biologist told me that just in my immediate area he's counted 18 hawks!..He says that this is really rare that theres so many in one place like this.
 Anyways, back to the matter at hand....
 My dad used to put a surveillance mirror( You know, the ones that are wide angle?  'bout 24 t0 36 inches around?) next to the drop
board on his pigeon loft..he was told that a hawk would see his reflection when about to strike a pigeon and would hit the brakes to not crash into the other hawk...When he didnt have the mirror he had hawk strikes...When he did have the mirror, he had no strikes.
 I suppose this probably wont stop a hawk from from getting "Free Rangers", but it might help if the hawk is striking close to the coop particularly if its near where the chickens go in and come out.
 The biologist I know builds traps to catch hawks in. he's offered to put one in my back yard but i havent taken him up on it .
 Next time I see him I'll try to remember to ask him for a pic of one and write down how it works, if you're interested..It catches them alive, and then he takes them FAR AWAY and releases them.

your friend,
john
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2008, 10:08:34 PM »

Here in Colorado it is illeagal to kill any bird of prey, actually it is a federal crime to kill any bird of prey no matter where in the United States. I know hawks hate owls so you could put up a fake owl and watch the hawk go after it all day! Call you wildlife officer and tell him what is going on and ask that they trap the bird. Somtimes putting up obstacles so the hawk cant make a swoopping run works. Set out some bait and then scare the hawk evertime it comes in.
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2008, 01:15:18 AM »

Fishing line strung about 1 foot apart above the chicken yard.  Hang some tinsel on it.  The tinsel should scare them off--if not and they hit the fishing line they won't be back.
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2008, 09:57:49 AM »

Killing raptors is illegal. They are protected by federal laws. Very protected. I would use Brians suggestions, some horns, or anything that removes the birds sense of safety. Until the bird learns its too much of a hassle, they will continue to attck your poultry. Nature always wants an easy meal, w/o much effort. make it harder for the hawk and he will fins easier prey.
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2008, 10:06:13 AM »

i had a problem with them also.  last year that spent all day circling my barn waiting for the kittens to come out.  nothing i did scared them off except to watch for them and go to the barn when i saw them.  i don't know why they didn't stick to rabbits.  we sure have enough of them. 

these were the harriers that i talked about earlier.  they are BIG.
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2008, 12:41:59 PM »

My full time profession is that of wildlife biologist. I am also a former falconer (too much time), and do many, many raptor surveys each year, so I know a little about them.

Let me reiterate, not only is it against federal law, it is against international treatys to kill, injure, or harrass any migratory bird including all raptors. Yes, all migratory birds--nor just raptors. Some exceptions to the laws include exotics (English house sparrows, starlings etc.). This is outlined in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and was originally signed in 1918. We have treatys with Canada, Britain, Mexico, Japan, and Russia to protect migratory birds.

Hawk/falcon/eagle/harrier etc issues are difficult. Other nuisence wildlife issues (like elk in a hay pile), are easier. It's just tough to lure raptors away like it is other animals. Fortunately, I have only lost one  chicken--to a Cooper's Hawk 1.5 years ago. I however, have great horned owls nesting on our property (about 600 feet from the coop), and there are tons of red tails, barn owls, bald eagles (in winter), harriers, and other raptors in the area and fly over often.

I would suggest trying some of the good ideas presented here that are passive (tinsel, mirrors etc). You can call your local fish and game department, but my guess is that they are not going to come out and trap a single bird. This is just one of the many times where rural living has a challenge that has to have a creative solution that doesn't break laws and international treaties. Sorry I haven't been much help.
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2008, 05:34:30 PM »

I have a merlin that hangs around here at certain times of the year.  I caught it one time hanging onto the side of my pigeon loft.  The last time I heard the crows mobbing something, looked out & there were bout 100 in the trees all around my driveway.  The merlin had one of my pigeons on the ground.  Not thinking I grabbed a towel & went running out shouting.  Once I had tossed the towel on the pair the hawk forgot all about my pigeon.  I examined both, pigeon none the worse for wear flew off & hid for the rest of the day.  Hawk was mortified & flew off in a hurry, havn't seen it since!  Sure was beautiful though!
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2008, 10:02:20 PM »

It should be illegal for hawks to feed on ones poultry. No big thing untill it's your poultry. angry evil
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2008, 01:06:49 AM »

Trust me I know. I work part time for a wild game brid farm, 70,000 birds this year. The hawks and owls take out about three a day and wildlife officers say there is nothing they can do. Someone suggested to the guy to put up strobe lights, red, at night and that would keep the owls away. I think it worked for awhile but they are back. The only hawks he has problems with are the coopers hawk. Most of them dive at the nets and go right through breaking the net. They get in but cant get out. We have to catch them and let them loose. I personally like raptors but he does not.
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2008, 10:22:54 AM »

Years ago we used the 12 guage to protect our chickens, but now you get the book thrown at you for protecting your property. Same goes for wolves and bears here. Had 2 hives wiped out last year by bear, like I said ,no joke when it happens to you.  angry
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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2008, 02:44:41 AM »

On the BYC forum, someone suggested putting up fake crows as they are the hawk's natural enemies.  I have a dearth of hawks here but my dogs patrol the yard and orchard and bark furiously if any large bird dips too low.  I have also read an article where someone put wood pallets around the ranging area with dugouts underneath so the chickens can get shelter right away.  Do you have a rooster?  My rooster calls an alarm and everyone runs, the dogs go on alert and noone has come up missing yet.  I don't know how he does it, but that rooster can tell the difference between buzzards, hawks and crows immediately.  He only alarms for the hawks or bald eagles.  I think I also read somewhere about the Dept. of Ag reimbursing farmers for livestock lost to predation.  Might want to check that out.
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2008, 08:43:32 AM »

I don't know but protecting life and property , I can kill anything ,as the book says . Connecticut passed a law protecting crows , and soon song birds vanished , now they'r hunted again . Protecting wild life is noble , but overbreeding is bad for everyone . Eliminating problems is not bad management .
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2008, 12:44:37 PM »

This issue of protecting livestock is such an issue.  I am so on the fence with that.  Such a bummer that one can't legally protect their livestock from these birds of prey.  My roosters make that call too when a raven comes too close, the crows they don't worry about, but the ravens are huge. I see the crows chasing the ravens in the sky and man do these little dudes put the run on their big black counterparts, simply amazing to watch.  Beautiful day in this great life, and our sun be shinin' today.  Cindi
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« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2008, 01:16:19 PM »

Interseting point about over breading. I know in Colorado the deer and elk populations are so large that the CWD disease has set in. Im not sure about raptors overbreading. I wonder if there has ever been a study of that? Most raptors stay a far from humans and lok for their natural food. Once the raptor starts finding easy targets it will keep coming back. DO you have a coop you can keep you chickens in for awhile then the hawk will go else where?
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« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2008, 11:47:51 PM »

Overbreeding and overcrowding.  Back before WWII the State of Washington decided it was going to eradicate all the small dog sized deer found on Camano, Whidbey and the other San Juan Islands.  They did a count and found there were over 200 thousand deer on all the islands so put out a 2 deer limit,either sex, with 3 month hunting season  on the deer.  A few deer were killed during the count and a 75 lb buck was considered huge.  They counted a harvest of over 50 thousand deer--not counting injured not retreived.
The next year they went back to do a count and find out how many there were.  What they found was a population of 190 Thousand deer, many of the does had twins, and yet even the twins were almost twice the size of their parents. 

To this day the Coastal Black Tail deer of the PNW has never been eradicated from the islands yet the deer are now the same size as the same species on the mainland.  The deer population has dwindled as the people population has increased but still runs about 100 thousand in the 20 islands involved.

I was training my pigeons the other day when one of the hens came back with a big gash along its breast.  It survived a hawk attack.
I live next to over 1500 acres of community forest lands that are home to many species of hawks and a few families of Ospreys and bald eagles.   I never worry about the eagles and osprey as they seldom, if ever, bother the pigeons but the hawks I have to watch for constantly.  They are my biggest challenge to racing my pigeons.  After losing 1/2 my male birds I decided not to race the old birds because I had only 6 breeding pair left.  I am now focusing on racing my 20 young birds--if the hawks let me.
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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2008, 09:01:53 AM »

Brian, that is amazing how the size of the deer had increased, due to the extra foraging material available.  But what a quandry it sounds like it had made.  Strange how things go.

I am surprised that the hawk issues have not torn you away from the pigeon stuff.  That poor pigeon with the slashed breast, did it pull through?  I am surprised if it did.  I don't think that I would have the guts nor the gumption to carry on with raising stock that is so attacked by predators.  I take my hat off to you, dude.  You must have a deep and intense love of this hobby, beautiful.

When we come down for the barbeque, I will be enthralled to have a lock at all your pigeon stock.  That is gonna be a weekend of great fun and I can't wait!!!!  Best of this beautiful day, and more to come.  Cindi
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« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2008, 01:15:11 PM »

As you can see in my photo I have a strong feelings for raptors.  They are quite easy to trap if you know what your are doing and have the right equipment.  I would suggest contacting you state dept of natural resourses and finding out if you have any local falconers that could legally remove the bird, train it and use it for hunting. 
The comment by  thomashton   "Let me reiterate, not only is it against federal law, it is against international treatys to kill, injure, or harrass any migratory bird including all raptors. Yes, all migratory birds--nor just raptors. Some exceptions to the laws include exotics (English house sparrows, starlings etc.). This is outlined in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and was originally signed in 1918. We have treatys with Canada, Britain, Mexico, Japan, and Russia to protect migratory birds."  sume it up except he missed one unprotected bird and that is the pigeon
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« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2008, 11:10:06 PM »

In my younger years, before licenses were required for it, I tried Falconry.  Had a sparrow hawk with a slightly crimpled wing.  Fed it my cast of pigeons but it was really too small to take a pigeon on the wing.  I would have liked to have gotten a Perigrin ir Coopers hawk.  When I was a kid I did more than Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer put together.

Cindi, yes the little silver hen is still alive and recovering well.  When you come down check with your customs agents and see what's required for taking pigeons back into B.c.  If it's not too much of a hassle I'll seen you back a 1/2 dozen squeekers.  Squeekers are young pigeons just off the nest that haven't yet imprinted to home so they will imprint to your place and not try to come back to mine.
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« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2008, 09:30:09 AM »

Brian, what a gracious offer.  I suspect that there would have to be a certificate of health though.  I know I am getting chicks from McMurray's and there must be a health certificate that I purchase to come through the border.  I will check it out though, thank you so much for thinking of me.  Beautiful day in this great life.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2008, 11:55:05 PM »

   If I remember right all bird of prey or raptor are feather protected.  This means that if I have a feather I'm subject to criminal prosecution.  This was explained to me by a person who was licensed for raptor therapy and return to the wild.  This was after a friend of mine had a barn owl hit his windsheild in  front of my house in Georgia.  Some local folks wanted to kill it for the feathers and I got out there in time to stop them.  We covered it with a blanket and boxed it up.  Called the police they gave us the number to a judge who was able to care for the owl. 

    As far as getting hit by raptors yeah we lost a lot of chickens and friends of mine have lost many ducklings, rabbits, turkey poults and more.  Takes a lot to get permission to kill or trap one or not granted permission for anything.  Can be frustrating.

    But I have always marveled at hawks, eagles, owls and falcons.  I think they are cool!  Mindful that they are wild critters and not to be tamed, but cool! 
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« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2008, 10:01:05 AM »

Thinking about it, I've lost more chix/ducklings to crows than hawks...they will swoop down, grab a duckling, carry it up about 60ft & drop it on a rock, then eat it. angry..When my daughter was about 8 she saw this & got busy making a slingshot out of sticks, rubber bands & hay twine..she was able to knock a few in flight & whacked em with other stix or laughed as they bonked into trees...kept her busy for days! Great problem solving, math, fine motor & critical thinking skills! evil That's my girl!!
Jody
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« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2008, 11:39:14 PM »

Jody, you need to take your hat off to your Daughter, yeah!!!  What an innovative young lady to get on that band wagon, yeah!!!!!  Most beautiful day in this most beautiful life, Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2008, 11:09:06 AM »

Love the Birds of Prey, but there sure have gotten to be a lot of them in the last few years. Twenty years ago it was rare to see Great Horned Owl here.  Now I regularly see as many as four in the trees along my 1/2 mile long driveway.  Hawks are everywhere all year long.  Between the Birds of Prey, Bobcats, and loose dogs its just impossible to have any feathered livestock run loose. 
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« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2008, 10:33:40 PM »

Hey Brian, I remember dad having a pigeon which probably flew in to  powerline...As you probably know, this happens occasionally.
 Anyways, there was this bird(pigeon) see,   and it was alive after hitting a wire.......And ever time it ate, the pigeon food would fall right out of its body!!!...Same with drinking, the water would fall out!
 Dad sewed this bird closed and she lived!
 And this is a true story!

your friend,
john
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« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2008, 10:39:45 PM »

Blach, how you you spell something really yucky?  There must be a way of spelling it,  Smiley Smiley Smiley  Beautiful and most wonderful day, Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2008, 10:50:28 PM »

It wasnt like barf, it was just grain ...It came out exactly as it went in! Smiley
your friend,
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« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2008, 10:57:56 PM »

John, ha, it sounds like Chinese crud to me (hee, hee, got that term from Brian Bray, hee, hee).  Best of a beautiful and most wonderful day, Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2008, 10:59:18 PM »

 grin
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