I went out just before suppertime to shut the chickens in. It was getting dark and it was cold and windy. I wanted to get cleaned up and have supper and not have to go out again.
But the chickens were all still in the outside pen, clucking their stupid heads off, and one of them was throwing itself around the closed in pen, fluttering and banging off the fence. What sort of chicken drama was playing out in their tiny chicken brains?
I got closer and realized the “chicken” throwing itself about in the enclosed pen was actually a sharp-shinned hawk. It had flown in there somehow and couldn’t find a way out.
That’s a generic picture of a sharp-shinned hawk. We’ve had one hanging around our place all fall. He hangs on the wind over Skunk Hill and captures rodents in our native planting areas.
While the hawk was bashing about in the enclosed pen, our rooster was on the other side of the fence, throwing himself at the hawk, quite willing to take on the predator to defend his hens.
That is a picture of our rooster. He as full of himself as any creature can be. But he went after that hawk without a thought of himself, despite the fact that the hawk would’ve surely have torn him apart if he had gotten through the fence. You can attribute that to his chicken sized brain, or to the insane belief in their own immortality and invincibility of all young males. Whatever the reason, it was impressive to watch.
I opened the door to the pen so the hawk could find his way out, and Spenser the Wonder Dog immediately dashed in. Spenser is deaf as a post, so he didn’t hear me screaming at him that the hawk would tear his eyes out. Spenser trotted over, sniffed the hawk, evidently found it not interesting and wandered into the chicken coop to look for eggs – which he finds very interesting.
In the meantime the rooster continues to throw himself at the fence to try to get to the hawk, and the hawk flies into the fence right by me and hangs onto the fence with its talons and stares at me, evidently wanting to rip my throat out.
Being only slightly smarter than the rooster, it took a while for me to realize I should move away from the open door. When I did the hawk burst through the open door and disappeared over the roof of our house like a fighter jet on afterburners.
I went into the coop to retrieve the Wonder Dog and there was one dead chicken that the hawk had killed. Spenser, being senile as well as deaf, didn’t notice it until I picked it up.
As soon as I stepped back outside the hens and the rooster bolted for the coop. I sealed the doors up, and as I did I heard the contented, interrogative “chook, chook, chook?” noise they make as they settle onto their perches for the night.
Minus one chicken, all was well again.