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Forty Years with Birds and Dogs 

Dogs Aren't Enough When It Comes to Hawks

My neighbors enjoy the fact that Cooper hawks nest in their back yard, which edges on the steep canyon that houses tall Ponderosa pines and a pleasant drainage stream up Walnut Canyon. Trouble is, there is no way that our dogs can protect a lone chicken from a hungry chicken hawk.

Years ago, when Jupiter-- an old red hen I rescued from another bird-lover who had rescued her from someone else--went missing, all I found was a tuft of red feathers. She was taken, probably by the neighboring hawk, when the dogs were on duty in the yard. It simply happened too fast. I'm sure it was a hawk attack, because the two English call ducks, Kiebler and Ms. Ritz, (quackers) were also missing. I searched and searched, then looked out the back gate. There they were, waiting to be let back into the yard. They must have panicked, flying over the chain link fence and missing the good sense to fly back in.

I have seen the hawk dive into the thick Juniper bush in front, flying at full throttle to catch one of the wild tweety birds we feed.

Buttercup, the Americauna I raised one spring, with her darker-feathered cratemate, Toffee, was taken in a heavy rain. They had sheltered under the dense apricot tree under a huge Ponderosa, and I thought they were well protected. Wrong. All I found of her was a pile of blond down, down by the back fence. She must have been too heavy for the hawk to carry further. Toffee is still doing well, the top of the pecking order and Turkey's favorite, but she doesn't lay very many eggs these days.

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