Hawk got a bird. Titmouse? Catbird? Not sure.
I was making dinner when I tuned in to some unusual bird sounds: the raucous calls bluejays make when they are mobbing some bigger bird they don’t like; and the noises my five chickens make when they are mildly (but not completely hysterically) freaking out about a perceived threat.
Out the back door and around the corner and I saw at wood’s edge (with harsh chorus of bluejays up in the trees) an odd sight.
Quick flash of a small, roundish hawk with a light underbelly taking off. Five chickens standing in a semi-circle out in the open on the grass a short distance from where the hawk had been, squawking in distress – but making no attempt to run off and hide. And a pile of gray and white feathers where the hawk had been.
I got a half piece of bread and the chickens followed me inside the little chicken yard that’s behind an electric fence. After I double-checked for a wounded or dead bird where the hawk had been (nothing but feathers) I looked and saw the chickens had gone all the way into the chicken run and were standing still in a protected corner.
Their PTSD lasted about 15 minutes then they wanted to go out and free range the yard again.
Here is a Broad-winged Hawk that was hanging around our property for weeks late last summer. It never tried to eat a chicken and I got used to seeing and hearing it around.
For a couple of weeks I have heard the familiar high-pitched kee-ee not far away. I wonder if it’s the same hawk.