I Have A Hawk Hanging Around Right At My House

Discussion in 'Science & Nature' started by John Brunner, Jul 8, 2021.

  1. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I've lived in this rural area for over 10 years, and have had lots of hawks on my property. I've gone outside attracted by a chaotic racket, only to see an extended mating fight right about my home...2 males going at it while the female patiently circled overhead to see who was buying dinner that night.

    These hawks have always been skittish. If they are sitting on a tree at the far end of my yard and I walk past the patio door (6-8 feet inside of the house), they'll see me and fly off.

    A couple of weeks ago I noticed one habitually at a tree right by the house. He flies away if I make any movement. The past few days I've seen one (I assume it's only one) fly low and parallel to the house, right past that glass door...and I mean right over my small deck. I only catch a glimpse because it comes out of nowhere. This evening I saw the wings right at the bathroom window, and now (late dusk) a hawk is perched on my deck. They have never ever come this close before, and now it's almost a daily thing.

    Here's my 50+ acre place outlined in purple, with the nearest homes circled in red:

    Arial 2 redacted.jpg
    This is not suburbia. They have plenty of room. But you can see the cleared area that my house sits on. It's good open hunting grounds for them, but there are lots of others that are certainly much larger.

    About 6 years ago there was some logging on an adjacent property and a pair relocated to my property. But there have been no recent disturbances. Their home has not been disturbed...at least, by a human.

    Does anyone have any ideas what can be causing this? Do I have a rodent invasion I'm unaware of? Is there a hawk predator out there I need to remediate? I'm thrilled to have them around, but this is certainly not normal behaviour. I know bluebirds will get the attention of their human hosts if there are issues and predators (lots of stories on the web.) I'm gonna be upset if something is threatening these guys and I don't find out what.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
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  2. Mary Stetler

    Mary Stetler Veteran Member
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    Got chipmunks?
    We had a lot of chipmunks and now not so much. I guess they are a good snack. The hawks here mostly went for other birds and squirrels which are not around now.:( (to tell the truth I am sorry they got my dinner ; ) We have a lot of trees around here. I would think hawks would like farmland or open spaces but every now and again we are serving what they want.
    At the farm we have all sorts of hawks and a few owls. I went out one evening and my chickens were hiding under my truck. I called but nobody came So I went out to see a red tail circling. I stood there a while and eventually it flew off. Still the chickens would not come out. All of a sudden a noise behind me made me turn and there was a huge horned owl was sitting not 20 feet behind me! I suggested he go and the girls ran to the barn. They missed two dinner parties in one evening!
    I am not big on global warming but maybe axis movement by degrees. We have different bird populations than normal the last few years.
    Hope a hawk doesn't fly into your window like some birds do here when they are chased. That would be a mess.
     
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  3. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Supreme Member
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    I have four hawks living in my neighborhood. When they are out flying nearby, all
    the bird hide in the trees and bushes until they are out hunting some where else.
    They have caught and killed several dove in my back yard and I guess all the pigeons.
     
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  4. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I just went outside because this is the time of day that the hawk seemed to come around lately. And I heard something scream at me. It's an owl!!!

    So the wings I've seen briefly and my deck and at my bathroom window, and the post-dusk shape I saw clinging to my deck is an owl!!!! I have heard a great horned owl late at night on a mere handful of occasions since I moved in 11 years ago. This sucker is not scared of me. This sucker is putting me on notice.

    I grabbed my phone to take a pic (there's still plenty of light out) and it moved to a different branch, obscured by the leaves...but it's still vocal.

    It may be a short-eared owl, since the 7 other Virginia owls (barn owl, eastern screech owl, great horned owl, barred owl, northern saw-whet owl, long-eared owl, snowy owl) actually hoot:



    The description sure fits, especially the parts I bolded:

    This is actually pretty cool. I wonder what brought it here and why it feels comfortable this close to the house? The wings at the bathroom window seemed as though it was trying to perch on the gutter.
     
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  5. Teresa Levitt

    Teresa Levitt Veteran Member
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    he or she is hunting...hungry...we have one here...

    water is also needed and where we are is a good water source...

    we see it as late as mid-day....early as late evening before dark
     
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  6. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I forget where you are, Teresa.

    One site I read says they spend a short time in the state but breed elsewhere. The Virginia Dept of Game website says they are very rare to see here, but do breed in the state. The most frequent spots they have been sited are the next county north of me, and a couple of counties north of them. So I'm in the right general area of the state for this species to be the likely suspect.

    The vid I posted of the one screeching is apparent a female. The male emits a more traditional hoot...or so I read.

    I JUST OPENED THE PATIO DOOR TO SEE IF SHE WAS STILL IN THE TREE, AND SHE FLEW RIGHT OVER AND SAT ON THE DECK RAILING JUST A FEW FEET FROM ME!!!!!

    I came inside to get my phone to take a pic, went back out, and she was still sitting there! But I just got this new phone a couple of hours ago and could not find the camera icon. She flew away.
     
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  7. Teresa Levitt

    Teresa Levitt Veteran Member
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    we live in the cornfields of southeast Illinois...our place has lots of trees and we're avid bird feeders...we have a fish pond...and small creek...
    that is odd the owl would be so close there to you...
    maybe you can research this behavior...let us know
     
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  8. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Veteran Member
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    Hawks and large owls here go after rodents and hares. Falcons here go after other birds. I think if you have more predators, it is probably due to more prey in the area.

    I should have said small birds are the falcons' diet here. Large birds such as adult ducks are more the eagles fare.
     
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  9. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I was thinking the same thing, Don. It's gotta be attracted by food. There has been a bumper crop of rabbits this year...I've not seen anything like it since I moved here.

    Did you catch my comment that this owl flew right over to me on my deck and just sat there? This is interesting to say the least.
     
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  10. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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    Out in the country here the hawks go after chickens a lot. Once in a while you would find a pile of white feathers along the fence line. There may have been a lot more, but the white feathers catch your eye from a distance.

    I can't imagine this hawk being fooled so long by a fake duck. Something is fishy.

     
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  11. Teresa Levitt

    Teresa Levitt Veteran Member
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    the owl that visits us is here in a tree not 25 yards away...can't get the picture of it..might spook it...
    the bird feeders are in an open area...
    if it spots a bird..it will probably swoop...
    we have found only feathers on the ground before...
    it is a short ear owl...it's hungry
     
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  12. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Here is a pic of the back of the cleared yard:

    Ice 1.jpg

    If I walk on the opposite side of the room where that patio door is and there is a hawk on that far tree line, it will see me and fly away. I don't know how they see me across the yard and 6 feet back from the glass in a dark room, but they do. They are extremely skittish.

    I have no idea what's up with this friendly owl. She's not sickly. I find nothing about owl/human interaction on the web, other than "we can coexist." I put a big bowl of water out there for her, and have mixed feelings about doing so. I hate to interfere with the critters. If they cannot survive where they are, nature makes them move on. There's a balance. But this is unique. I think the owl is interfering with me more than the other way 'round.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
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  13. Teresa Levitt

    Teresa Levitt Veteran Member
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    enjoy the owl ..this one. .comes and goes...and it's in our nature to want to take care of critters
     
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  14. Mary Stetler

    Mary Stetler Veteran Member
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    I can't imagine giving it water is that much interference. Sometimes it is just a helping hand. One drought we had, a family of turkeys stayed by our house. The mom and 10 babies camped out here. My hubby figured out critters needed water more than the corn and put a pan out. It looked like the mom was very grateful. The next good rain, they disappeared.
     
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  15. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    It seems this owl is gonna be a semi-permanent resident.

    Right on time at 6PM I heard it in that tree, hooting. My cursory reading indicated that the male makes traditional owl hoots and the female screeches, but when I went outside this evening the hooting turned to screeching. I gotta read more. I don't know if the evening hunting spot is also where a nest may be.

    I could not coax it to fly back to the deck, but (s)he flew to an adjacent tree for a couple of minutes then flew back. I came back inside. There's no need to agitate it. Such beautiful (and large) birds.

    @Mary Stetler I saw these guys not long after I moved here.

    2012-09-26_15-31-23_746.jpg
    I took this pic through the window of my car as I was pulling in the driveway. I'll bet those turkey you two gave water to were very appreciative. I figure that human encroachment into their territory is unregulated interference, so providing the occasional help that many of us do is a marginal offset.
     
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