I went out to feed the chickens and horses this morning, and there are usually sparrows in the pen, feasting on the scratch grain the chickens missed yesterday. This morning, there was a flurry of wings, but much too big to be a sparrow. It made a couple of tries at the chicken wire in a bit of a panic (I stayed back far enough that it didn’t truly panic) and after 3 tries, it found the opening in the top of the small run between the coop and the pen. I had realized by then that it was a falcon! The smaller western falcon, in size between the kestrel and the red-tailed hawk that is so prevalent out here, had a big fat rat in its talons, also a benefactor of the chickens’ missed feed.
It landed in the open of the front lot, where I would have to go by it to get to the barn, so I finished with the chickens and went back into the house for a cup of coffee, to give it time to finish its breakfast.
After it left and I had tended/fed the horses, I went to check out the breakfast site, found a small amount of fur and blood from the rat, but also feathers from a sparrow. I get the feeling that my chicken pen is a regular early morning stop for that fellow! He’s too small to get my chickens (since I don’t have little ones), so he’s welcome, since he’s taking care of the rats that I can’t get rid of. I’d love to see him there every morning!
The opening over the run part is too small for a red-tailed hawk to take off from, so the chickens are safe (except maybe for a youngster that hasn’t figured that out, but the parents here seem very good teachers–hasn’t been an issue, yet) from them, and the falcon is less than half their size, and preys on smaller critters.
I always feel privileged when Mother Nature allows me to see one of her creatures up close. People that hurry through life have no idea what they are missing. One of the best things about my life is being able to observe, from a garden spider with her long black-stockinged legs building her zipper-centric web, to a mockingbird’s mating dance, to a falcon snatching a mouse, to my horses interacting with each other in their non-verbal language. What a great start to this day!