Wednesday 28 November 2012

A Gyrfalcon

We are quickly becoming familiarized with chicken predators of all types.
I'm not too sure which ones we haven't dealt with, but the list can only go on for so long.

Having actually captured and released a Northern Goshawk was a major highlight.
Killing the weasel by hand was a definite rush.
Losing our birds is never fun, but it is enrichening to experience wild animals up close.

If I ever get the chance, the fox will be killed.
I'm not proud of that, but it's been a long time and so many birds lost.
We probably won't try trapping, so the fox will need to be caught in the act of chicken theft to be dispatched.

Today I let a predator go.
I could have taken an easy shot and knocked this bird down.
Auren asked me why I didn't.
Well, there are lots of chickens and not so many of these.
Shooting it would have been a thoughtless waste.

Our birds all took cover and made the characteristic noise they make when attacked by an aerial predator.
I scanned the trees looking for the culprit; no sign.
But a strange flapping from the ground nearby gave the intruder away.
It was too late for the poor hen, but the attacker heard me coming and lit on a fence post.

I had a good look.
The Gyrfalcon didn't think I'd shoot; but I did.
A single round was a warning to leave.
The falcon flew to a tree.
A second round followed to indicate how very serious I was about the falcon leaving.
The third was still necessary since the bird wasn't keen on leaving.
With the message received, I checked on the victimized hen.
She was too badly injured so I took her inside for supper.
A prime young hen; but at least we had the meal.

I'm not really familiar with bird migrations, but I suspect the hawks and falcons are making their way south right now.
We've never seen a Gyrfalcon before; it really was a treat to see so closely.
Catching it would have been even better, but that opportunity is rare.

I expect to become better acquainted with all sorts of rarely seen predators.
After all, our yard is bait.
Instead of gunning them down, we should take the chance to enjoy the experience.
It's definitely worth a few chickens.



  1. You're in the southern part of its wintering range. Could be hanging around all winter. I like the idea that it's somewhat rare so you chose not to terminate it. Hope it doesn't end up coming to that.

  2. I wonder if that is what has been terrorizing our chickens...I wish I had a better look of him! Our chickens are staying in or right close to the coop these days since the last attack. Usually they knock me over to get out.