Cooper's Hawk and Ringed Turtle Doves

Post date: Dec 02, 2015 7:44:39 PM

We have our chickens (I will get to the hawk and doves in a minute) in a run area, about 600 square feet, connected to their coop via a chicken-sized door,) with the run roofed over with panels of shade cloth (the shade cloth is necessary because it gets so hot here in the summer). We ran two layers of chicken wire around the run, as two layers, to keep undesirable animals out (such as coyotes - see below, foxes, skunks, ground squirrels although the ground squirrels have figured out how to get in). The run is necessary because although we would like the chickens to roam, and used to let them out, we have indeed had coyotes come down from the hills and canyons and catch chickens, even in broad daylight. We feed and water the chickens in their run, and now I'm getting to the doves - the ringed turtle doves come into the run to get some of the food. We don't mind that because they don't eat that much and they are beautiful birds. It is interesting (to me) that we have two kinds of doves: mourning doves in the canyons where the trees are more common and more closely spaced, and ringed turtle doves out in the open land. OK, back to business, the panels of shade cloth tend to sag, so there are openings between the panels, and that is mostly how the doves get in. A couple days ago we had a Cooper's hawk get into the run and somehow the hawk got trapped between layers of chicken wire. Cooper's hawk is a bird-eating hawk, very beautiful. The one that visited our chickens was a juvenile, judging from its fairly small size and colors of its plumage. At the time I assumed it was there to get our chickens although the hawk was actually a little smaller than a chicken. But, while Jim went back to the house to get some heavy leather gloves, I found a dead dove that had been decapitated, so I think now the hawk was there to catch a dove (and did, apparently, before it got stuck). Jim fetched the hawk out of the chicken wire and off it flew. We used cable ties to re-connect the panels of shade cloth to discourage this hawk or others from coming in. Somehow, the doves are still finding their way into the run (there are still small openings between panels), but are generally unable to remember how to get out. So now, for the past couple evenings when we put the chickens to bed in their house, we have to open the door to the run and shoo the doves out to find their normal resting roosts.

I didn't have a camera with me to photograph the Cooper's hawk, but here are a few photos of the doves - including a white one - on top of the chicken run.

Maybe we should raise doves...