Yup, that time of year again.
While others are decking halls and fa-la-la-ing, I’m scanning trees, moving food bowls and leaving windows open a teensy, weensy bit so I can hear the ducks in case they need me. Not that I hope they need me. Not that any given day or hour they will need me. You know, just in case.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of our first hawk attack and call me unsentimental but I’d rather not celebrate with a repeat raptor visit. To avoid that unpleasant outcome, I’ve started acting like that kid in the old M. Night Shyamalan film except I see birds, not dead people.
Take, for example, this past weekend. My mom, my daughter and I were walking out of a charming museum next to a 19th century presidential estate and what’s the first thing I do? That’s right. Spot a raptor, a bitty thing at the tippy top of a leafless 70-foot tree.
I blurted: “Hey, Mom, isn’t that a kestrel?”
She looked. Couldn’t see it.
“Where?” she asked.
“There,” I indicated. “Right above that light post, follow the left side of that tree, a little to the right of that other tree and–”
My daughter peered into the drizzly sky.
“Oh, there!” she exclaimed.
I walked around to get a better look. Thing is, I’ve always loved kestrels. Technically, not a hawk but a spirited falcon, even more appealing and rarely seen in our neck of the Eastern woods.
“Yeah, you’re right,” my mother confirmed. “That’s a kestrel. How’d you see it?”
How did I see it? Well, let’s just say, I’m a duck owner. Of course, I see hawks. And falcons. And owls. And, alas, even ravens. Any large avian raises my hackles the same way it raises my birds’. Sometimes it’s triggered by a squirrel’s chittering. Sometimes it’s a blue jay’s alarm cry. Sometimes it’s a weird stillness when you expect a yard full of peeps and twitters. It’s kind of hard to explain exactly but you just feel something’s off and you immediately start looking. In fact, it’s fair to say, if you’re a poultry owner and you wanna keep being a poultry owner, you really gotta pay attention to your sixth sense.
Wait, did you hear that? Gotta go!
Copyright 2015, Lori Fontanes
So, they’re back. I noticed some piles of feathers and rabbit fur in my yard too. Of course, mine are all wild animals and not domestic. The circle of life can be hard to take.
Yes, it’s always a dance between farmer and critter!
I can understand your apprehension about raptors, but it’s too bad that you aren’t able to fully enjoy their beauty and majesty. I’ve given some thought as to how you could keep your ducks safe from any raptors thinking of a duck dinner, but I’m not able to come up with an easy solution, sorry.
One of the ironies of this whole duck-raising thing is that I have been a huge fan of raptors and corvids for many years! I fantasized about getting a falconry license when I was much younger, that’s how much I loved them. Now the shoe, er, claw is on the other, er, perch. 😉
Sounds like a comedy column
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Worse part, I came home a little while ago and the ducks scattered. Looked up, saw the hawk taking off in the neighbor’s yard. That *was* last straw. They all got penned up (willingly, I might add).
Uh-oh. It sounds like you need some piggy protection there to help out my fellow duckies. Packing my bags now my friends. XOXO – Bacon
You betcha! PS, with all the rain we’ve had, plenty of fun spelled M-U-D up here, too! 🙂
YAY!! Perfect – splish splash fun for moi’ XOXO – Bacon
What you need is a high-tech solution to provide security for your ducks. When it spots something up in the trees, it makes a sound to scare off the said bird in the tree and not to scare the ducks, of course. Of course, it will need to be trained much like training a spam filter on your email. 🙂
So funny, I was actually mulling something like that over the other day, too! Mother Nature always wins out, tho. 😉
I’m going to have to hang my head in shame here and say all our feathered friends are inside runs. You are a brave and vigilant woman, and those ducks appreciate it. 🙂
Some days I wish we had a bigger run for them, too! Of course, they would be okay with having me stay outside and stand guard all day, too. 🙂
Yes, I just bet they’d love the company. 🙂