Thursday, October 1, 2009

When hawks attack!!!

That does sound like a promo for an Animal Planet show doesn`t it?

But that`s just what happened here on my hillside farm yesterday. Usually I spend my morning`s sipping coffee and working on my fiction tales or blog entries, my creative juices just seem to flow best when my old brain is freshly rested. Yesterday morning though I decided to break my routine and actually do some housework. (I know it`s shocking isn`t it?)

The previous night had been spent with my nose buried in a new paranormal romance which had left me sluggish and bleary eyed even with a couple of mugs of coffee in my bloodstream. I had also donated blood the day before which could have added to my lethargic synapses. Add to that I was struggling with a severe case of the dreaded writers block so skipping the laptop (I hoped) would help with the mental bear-trap I seemed to be caught in.

I set about doing what needed done- a load of whites, some light dusting and the vacuuming, which can be done daily as anyone with dogs and cats can attest to. Perhaps as I pushed the Eureka over the dog hairs on the carpet inspiration would leap out like some literary dust bunny and smack my imagination with a great idea I was praying. What I got as I was vacuuming was a glimpse of something in my peripheral vision streaking past my kitchen window. It was just a dark blur but it made me hurry to shut off the Eureka and scurry to the window to scope things out.

Knowing there are no birds on this farm that can soar by the little window over my kitchen sink I was already pretty sure as to what had zipped by. My initial peek showed me every bird in the back yard stood frozen in place, hiding under bushes or my truck. Off I ran to the back door leaving the vacuum lying on the living room carpet. I flung the back door open and hurried onto our back porch, nearly falling to my face as I tripped over tiny little bantam chickens cowering beside the storm door.

Just as I stepped onto a large flat rock that serves as one of two steps up from our porch it swooped down from the front of our home. The red-tailed hawk had his keen sight on one of my black silky roosters that was pinned under a large autumn olive bush in our yard. Wings locked and talons stretched the hawk made another pass, the terrified rooster scooted left and somehow the bird of prey missed but I tell you all it was by mere millimeters!

As the winged predator turned sharply to try once more I hurried out into the still wet grass in my slippers yelling at the top of my lungs and flapping my arms like a short yodeling emu. Red-tails are protected here in Pennsylvania so as poultry owners we have only two choices, either lock our birds up in a pen or allow them to free range and take our chances.

Tiny bantam chickens are VERY easy marks for a fleet-winged bird of prey and sadly we`ve found the remains of a few of our flock that had become a hawk`s meal over the years. Fall, for whatever reason, seems to be the worst time in terms of hawk attacks for us here. I`m not sure if it`s juvenile birds that still don`t have the skill needed to catch faster quarry like rabbits or if it`s just the fact that chicken is a tasty meal for both humans and hawks alike.

Luckily for that rooster my yelling and flapping startled the hawk enough to send him to a tall oak that borders our property and my sister-in-laws. There he sat looking down on me and wondering exactly what was wrong with that woman as mister rooster ran as fast as his stubby legs would carry him onto the back porch to hide with the other chickens. I nodded as he passed and he gave me a very grateful look.

Now knowing hawks as I do I knew I had to send the bird on his way or he would just wait me out patiently at the top of the oak, biding his time amid leaves that are turning shades of red to match his beautiful plumage. So I did what I always do, I jogged back to the house and let loose the dogs. Mister red-tail wanted nothing to do with three maniacal canine`s leaping and barking and braying and the last I saw of him, and his red-tail, was his silhouette as he soared over the state woods behind our coop`s.

So all in all everyone made out well, aside from the hawk of course. Mr. Black silky rooster is still crowing and strutting (No doubt regaling the hens about his bravado in the face of certain death), the dogs got a chance to be out ahead of their ‘lunch time calf bottle run’ and I ended up with wet slippers and a new blog entry.

Maybe I should do housework more often?? Nahhhhhhh.

(On a side note, the picture of the hawk included in this entry isn`t the same one that visited us yesterday. In the melee I didn`t think to grab the camera. But Mr. Black silky rooster was more than willing to pose, with his ladies, after the feather raising event.)

1 comment:

houndstooth said...

Ha ha ha! I do believe that Mr. Black Silky Rooster looks very proud of himself!