I woke this morning, not to the usual sound of the rooster crowing but to a hen repeatedly howling. We haven’t had chickens long enough to recognize the new noise but it was LOUD and absolutely devastating. Ryan ran outside to investigate and found a hawk perched on the peak at the top of the chicken run.
The hawk was pacing the length of the run, trying desperately to figure out a way to break through the impenetrable “predator proof” utility mesh that surrounds it on all sides. Inside, our largest English Blue Orpington hen “Big Mamma” was puffed up to twice her normal size, like a giant dark blue beach ball. She had her neck arched upward, staring fearlessly at that hawk while emitting that horrible shrill honking sound from her beak. Her two babies (a White-Crested Polish named “Mokey” and a tiny Nankin called “Ting-Ting”) were so well-hidden that even after Ryan had shooed away the hawk and things had quieted down, he was having trouble getting a head count.
Just as Ryan was preparing himself to break the bad news to our three-year-old son Charlie, Mokey suddenly popped out from where she had been burrowed under the wood-chips beneath the iron garden bench. Hearing her sister excitedly chattering away to Ryan, Ting-Ting suddenly emerged too, zipping out from inside a cinder block in the far end of the run. Big Mamma, having returned to her normally-huge size, rushed over to greet her babies with a reassuring soft cluck, as if to say
“It’s safe now but I’m so proud of you both for finding such good hiding places.”
I almost wonder what she would’ve done to that hawk if he’d gotten inside the run. She’s such a good mama after all, like a fluffy blue grizzly bear. That hawk wasn’t much bigger than Mokey either. Hopefully we’ll never find out.