Chicken Hawk!

After a great vacation down the Jersey Shore, we woke up yesterday morning to see this guy on our back fence:


We were all quiet and careful, creeping closer to end of the brick path to get our pictures. The whole yard was quiet: not a peep from any of the chipmunks and squirrels who snack on our fruit, and nary a bird around. No wonder — that's a big hawk!

Turns out that being so careful not to scare it wasn't necessary at all, though. All of a sudden, it took off from the fence post and went right for the chicken coop! Amid all the terrified clucking of our little flock, that hawk was certain to show us that it thinks we are the interlopers here:


Whoa.

So after some research, we learned that this is most likely a juvenile, female Cooper's Hawk. The very first phrase of the description calls it "the 'chicken hawk' of colonial America."

Uh-oh.

Eventually it took a big crap in our yard and flew away. But we heard it screaming all day, and our neighbors said they saw it ripping apart a squirrel in a tree while we were gone.

There's always a bright side.

Still, it looks like our chickens' days roaming free in the yard are done for the foreseeable future. That hawk is just waiting to pick one of them off. Good thing Kirk built such a spacious and sturdy fortress for the ladies!

Lest you think this is a once-and-done visit from a bird just traveling through, Kirk was awakened this morning by the chickens raising a ruckus. He went out to find them huddled together and terrified (but safe) in the run, and the hawk sitting right on the compost pile (maybe three feet away from them). Waiting.

Oh, and swooping. The hawk took a big dive towards Kirk to try to scare him away from what she clearly considers her own personal chicken case at the butcher's shop.

Cooper's hawks aren't any kind of endangered or protected in Massachusetts. Not sure what, if anything, we'll do with that tidbit. Right now we're just waiting and seeing. We're confident in the chicken coop set-up to keep the chickens safe from the hawk. It's just a bummer that they are stuck in there. I'll have to make sure to bring them some tasty greens from the garden each morning, since they can't forage for any on their own.

Perhaps we could convince the hawk to pick off the groundhog that got some of our zucchini while we were gone?

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