Had a bit of excitement not long ago.
I'd been letting the Girls out to do a bit of free-ranging bug control for about 35 minutes in the evening while I walked Kylie. Letting them out while keeping Kylie in could be exhausting, as she would usually stand at the window and bark her disapproval. So letting them out while walking Kylie killed two birds with one stone (Pardon the expression, Girls).
I returned from one such Saturday morning walk and went out the yard to gather up the cheeps so I could run off to my new gardening class. They were all happily foraging on the side of the house, and came running to meet me. I always have some grapes or other yummy treat for them, so getting them to come to me is generally not a problem.
Once they had a peck and what I had, I turned to lure them back across the lawn, up the steps and into their coop. When I got to the steps, I looked back and for some reason, they weren't behind me any more. They had detoured off the side of the yard, by the planters. Even MORE strangely, they all seemed to be on the move, and Derby was actually flying.
This is what made me freeze in my tracks. For those of you who have never seen a chicken fly, well, they don't really fly so much as sort of hop into the air and franctically flap their wings. They generally don't got more than a couple of feet, and it's anything but graceful. Basically, they fly about as well as you and I would, were we to suddenly have large feathery wing contraptions stuck on our back.
But here was Derby, actually soaring low and over the planters, straight at Ginger. I couldn't believe it. My first thought was actually, "Holy Cow, Derby is FLYING! Drat, now I'm going to have to start clipping their wings or they will fly out of the yard."
My second thought (thank goodness this all happenened in a nanosecond) was, "Hey. Wait a minute. That's not Derby! That's the CHICKEN HAWK! And its ATTACKING MY GIRLS!"
For those of you who missed earlier posts, it turns out that we actually have Cooper's Hawks now living in our neighborhood. That's right, in a tidy, people packed suburb in Los Angeles. I mean, are you kidding me?
This is what a Cooper's Hawk looks like:
Here's what a Barred Rock looks like:
Yes I am aware that they really don't look much alike. Well, they both have sort of stripey things going on...
So once my slow brain finally clued in to what was going on, I started yelling at the hawk who simply swooped up and around and back into the tree over my head. I started throwing rocks at it, not very well, and yelling. It sat there blinking sort of disdainfully at me, then finally flew away.
Well, that threw me for a loop. Clearly letting them free-range unattended is now out of the question...so what to do?
The answer presented itself in the form of the very canine that I had previously been so concerned about. If Kylie was so incredibly fascinated by the cheeps, well, why not let her "baby sit"?
To that end, I've begun actively working with her to see if how well she will do with this. More to come on this....