I received a strange phone call yesterday from my youngest daughter. “Dad, a hawk is eating Pinkfoot!” Pinkfoot was my daughter’s Bantam hen, which won Best in Show at the fair this summer. I raced home to find a fairly large hawk making short work of said hen and it had no intention of leaving until finished with its meal. I don’t know what species it is. Maybe someone can identify it in the comments. My daughter was upset but not unduly so. She wants to be a farmer when she grows up and knows chickens have eyes on the sides of their heads for a reason.
I heard a robin going ballistic earlier in the day and had wondered about it. You don’t usually hear the sound of upset robins except in the spring when they’re defending their nests and fledglings from crows and cats. In hindsight I realize that the robin was probably harassing this particular hawk. Our neighbor has a pear tree that attracts lots of birds. My guess is that the plethora of birds attracted this hawk, which was probably sitting in the pear tree watching my daughter’s chickens in their coop. We won’t be letting the chickens out into the yard for the next several days. Coincidentally, two of my relatives (who both live in cities) have also had birds eaten by hawks in their back yards this year.
Farmers have and always will be locked in a battle with biodiversity. I view farms as unnatural necessary evils. We have to eat, but they drive species to extinction all over the planet — the fewer, the better. The last thing we should be doing is expanding them to fuel our cars.