Weirdos in Nature

A hawk attacked Grey Chicken today.

While Red-Tailed Hawk attacks are rare in our neighborhood, they do happen which explains the spider web of bailing twine hanging over our chicken yard.  During winter months we general let our flock (four retired egg layers and a very disappointed young rooster) range free and forage what they can.  Normally, they’re perfectly safe from aerial attacks because of the cover from our many out buildings and the orchard trees, hawks not liking to be under things, preferring open territory.

But this, it seems, was no ordinary hawk.

When being questioned about the odd behavior of a particular house elf, J.K.Rowling’s character, Hagrid, once said, “Yeah well, you get weirdos in every breed.” and it seems that this assertion bears out in non-magical creatures as well.

While happily editing my book today, snuggled up on the couch with computer, tea, and Tiger (the perpetually non-aloof cat, a weirdo in his own right), I heard squawking chickens.  This is not unusual but, still, I decided it bore investigation.  Unwrapping from my wool blanket, unwinding the towel holding ice packs on my knee (from another chicken incident I’d rather not talk about), moving the pesky cat, and transferring my computer and all its cords to a nearby chair, I trundled out to the front porch to have a look.

The yard was empty.  Now, you have to understand that this, in itself is odd.  My front yard is normally a busy place.  Even when there are no deer or bears in attendance, there is usually activity everywhere with dogs, cats, and the afore-mentioned chickens carrying out their daily duties and responsibilities.  But now, it was as silent as an old west main street when a gun-slinger has just pulled back the hip of his duster.

I stood for a moment, taking in the silence but with my next step a bird flew out from under the deck that I was standing on, the deck that is a mere 18″ above the ground, the underneath being more like a tunnel than anything else.  I wasn’t startled because this is typical chicken behavior.  They like it under there, being ground-nesters, not tree-nesters.  They’re always interested when a human emerges from the house; we usually have interesting food scraps that are meant for them.  But, as I was looking down, not on dumpy feathered bodies scrambling out to see what’s for lunch, but on a four-foot, banded wingspan, fully stretched, two feet from my toes, I thought to myself, “I don’t think that’s a chicken.”  (I’m so pleased to be blessed with quick deduction skills!)

The raptor in question swooped up to the electric pole across the road, glaring at me indignantly, obviously feeling that it was she who was wronged in the situation, me having interrupted her chicken dinner.

We’ve never named the chickens, not because of squeamishness ‘cause we might eat them.  More because they’ve never seemed to want names, being perfectly happy to be chickens instead of pets.

Still, Grey Chicken is special because she’s been a patient before.  In her, much, younger days, she suffered injury at the hands…er…claws of an unpleasant rooster who left her with a dislocated hip.  She spent a month in a stock tank in my bedroom with ace bandages, massages, and physical therapy (yes, we take our chickens seriously around here!).   She recovered nicely, though I think she’s never forgiven me for her experience in ‘the mother ship.’

Now, she is huddled under the deck where I cannot reach her.  She’s breathing but that’s all I can know until she decides to get herself out of there.  So, if she’s injured, Grey Chicken’s survival is, I guess, up to her.

The dogs are in the yard now so the hawk won’t be coming back.  Weirdo or no, I don’t think it wants to tangle with Puente and Molly.

4 thoughts on “Weirdos in Nature

  1. Linn says:

    By this choice piece of excellent writing, I don’t see why any editing needs to occur. Engaging, funny, suspenseful what more is needed?
    Perhaps you write best when in avoidance of editing!
    I hope Grey Chicken recovers.

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