What kid doesn’t like to feed and catch birds? Our youngest granddaughter adores birds of any kind. (Although, as the roosters get older they can get aggressive, as well as the geese!) She currently has two new baby ducks she swoons over. Every morning and every evening it is her chore to collect eggs, feed, and make sure they are locked in their little house by dark. We have only lost about 6 birds in nearly 14 years to wild animals. Once, in broad daylight, we watched as a bobcat ran across the open meadow and grabbed a duck. As we yelled and carried on, the duck broke lose, but she didn’t survive her wounds.
One day while working in the gardens, I heard the sound of a hen in distress and went out into the pasture to see what was the matter. There, about 8 feet away, stood a huge bald eagle with one of our hens in it’s tallon. I yelled and jumped up and down, trying to make myself bigger than life, in hopes he would release the hen and she could get to the safety of the blackberries just 3 feet away. My horse, Trubadour heard the excitement and came running over. He stopped dead in his tracks when he realized what was gong on. In all the commotion, the hen did get lose and ran to safety. The bald eagle however, was not pleased, and if looks could kill, I wouldn’t be writing this story today. He was so ominous and intimidating, but beautiful. He then lifted up into the air and flew off, followed by his “gang” of vultures and ravens. It was like something out of a Stephen King movie. All the birds stayed hidden the rest of the day (no surprise there).
Later that evening, grandpa and I went to the coop to see how the hen was, as we knew she must have been injured. There she was sitting on the perch next to another hen, and we could see she had blood on her side from the eagle’s tallon. As we approached her to get a closer look, the hen next to her actually growled at us, and opened her wing, spreading it out over the injured hen covering her up, as if to say “Leave her be, she’s had enough.” We were astounded that chickens were so protective of one another.
Recently. we found a baby skunk sleeping in the chicken house, all tucked into the straw in the corner. Ahhhh, so that’s what happened to the missing eggs!
Yes, we eat our chickens and turkeys!… but that’s another story…