The CE and I were having lunch downtown the other day when three aging hippies singing “Imagine” and carrying a “War Is Not The Answer” banner walked past.
I wish I’d gotten a phone number because I would like to hire them to stage an hourly parade in the chicken yard. Why? Because when I let Hope and the chicks out of the pen for a walkabout in the chicken yard Saturday morning, we had an unannounced and unwelcome visitor. Hope saw it first and sounded the alarm – she let out a squawk, the chicks scattered for cover and I looked up to see a young red-tailed hawk perched on a branch overlooking the chicken yard.
I yelled and carried on while he gazed inscrutably at the crazy women flailing her arms at him. Twenty-or-so seconds into my anti-hawk dance he tired of the entertainment and flew off.
But he will be back. In fact, as I type this, I can hear the kirrrree-kirrreee-kirrreee call of a hawk circling our property.
I herded Hope and the chicks into the coop and commenced, yet again, to research the subject of hawks and chickens, hoping to find a magic bullet answer to the predatory problem.
Speaking of bullets, I learned, by the way, that it is illegal to kill a hawk – or a crow, for that matter. They are included in a very lengthy avian list(http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/RegulationsPolicies/mbta/mbtandx.html) protected under the Migratory Bird Act of 1918. Since we have crows and hawks on our property 365 days a year, I am a bit skeptical as to the migratory nature of these creatures, but it is the law of the land.
A hawk will readily attack a bird up to twice its size, so even Hope and Autumn are at risk. As I stated in the earlier post, a rooster is the best defense against a hawk, but I fear angry neighbors even more than the hawk, so, sadly, no roosters will be roosting in our coop.
Like the peaceable paraders downtown, I just wish everyone could get along. But changing hawk nature (or, for that matter, human nature) is not a likely outcome.
Thus, it looks like the chicks will be cooped up for the holiday, but hopefully the rest of you are happily celebrating your freedom. Happy 4th, and peace out!