What To Do After A Hawk Attack?

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
birdman in buckhead
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:47 am
Location: Small Town Buckhead, GA (not ATL Buckhead)
Martin Colony History: 2018: 1 pair, 5 fledged
2019: 3 pairs, 10 fledged
2020: 3 pairs, 13 fledged
2021: 13 pairs, 46 fledged

Greetings Fellow Purple Martin Landlords,

There was a Coppers Hawk attack today on my colony of birds, killing 1 bird :-( , and I'm not sure of what, if anything, I can or should do to prevent future attacks. I have 1 house with 6 units and 12 super gourds. There are 15 pairs of birds with different degrees of hatchings/eggs. 14 hatchlings will be fledglings within the next few days. This morning a Coopers Hawk attacked the colony, and judging from the feathers, apparently ate the bird 10 feet away from the housing. I didn't witness the attack, and don't know if it was a parent bird or hatchling that was killed. One pair of birds are feeding their chicks, while the others continue to circle above the housing and raising cane.

Any suggestions of what I should do at this point? Should I remove the remains of the dead bird? I have a scarecrow that I constantly move its location, but apparently it didn't do much good.

Thank you in advance for any help,
Terry
GEAUX TIGERS!

Cheers!
Birdman
brent
Posts: 488
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Have you tried decoys to attract the hawk's attention? I have witnessed hawks several times going after the decoys giving the martins extra time to escape. I also use an air horn when I see the hawk in action or near the houses. The sound scares them. It's painful to lose birds to hawk attacks especially with chicks in nests. I'm retired and spend a lot of time out doors around the martins so when I hear them sound the alarm I'm usually there. Good luck!
Brent
C.C.Martins
Posts: 1247
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:15 am
Location: Corpus Christi Tx
Martin Colony History: 2016- Visitors.
2017- 5 pair. 15 fledged
2018- 18 pair. 85 fledged
2019- 17 pair. 81 fledged
2020- 25 pair. 111 fledged
2021- 28 pair. 118 fledged
Home colony: mix natural, super and excluder gourds, enlarged compartment house. All SREH.
Satellite colony: Oso Bay Preserve: 12 PMCA excluder gourds, 6 room trio mini castle with enlarged compartments.
2019: Visitors
2020: 3 pair, 11 fledged
2021: 10 pair, 30 fledged
PMCA member

Terry,
Brent has some good suggestions. If you use the decoys move them around.
Be out there as much as possible, with chicks lots of activity will be going on. Perhaps you can interfere the attacks.
You can also use a scare crow, whippy make a good one he was getting devistated by hawks. He posted a picture of it, its very good. Bright colors complete with long flowing sleeves and ball cap. Its name is manny.

Try to find out which way its coming, try to be in that direction.
Iv used and have a long stick with bright tape on one end...I have waved it around when I see the hawk.
Good luck, sorry to hear that.
Tom
PMCA member, believer in nest checks, venting, SREH and pest/predator protection.
Whippy
Posts: 869
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: See Signature

Hey Birdman.

I sent you an e-mail through the contact function of this website. If it is not in your inbox please check your spam box.

Coolwhips
2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 67 fledged
Robert Anderson
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:22 am
Location: Mt. Pleasant, IA
Martin Colony History: 2018: 0 pair
2019: 0 pair
2020: 0 pair: 1 ASY male visitor
2021: 3 pair: 13 eggs

birdman in buckhead wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 11:17 am
Greetings Fellow Purple Martin Landlords,

There was a Coppers Hawk attack today on my colony of birds, killing 1 bird :-( , and I'm not sure of what, if anything, I can or should do to prevent future attacks. I have 1 house with 6 units and 12 super gourds. There are 15 pairs of birds with different degrees of hatchings/eggs. 14 hatchlings will be fledglings within the next few days. This morning a Coopers Hawk attacked the colony, and judging from the feathers, apparently ate the bird 10 feet away from the housing. I didn't witness the attack, and don't know if it was a parent bird or hatchling that was killed. One pair of birds are feeding their chicks, while the others continue to circle above the housing and raising cane.

Any suggestions of what I should do at this point? Should I remove the remains of the dead bird? I have a scarecrow that I constantly move its location, but apparently it didn't do much good.

Thank you in advance for any help,
Terry
Do you have hawk / owl guards installed on your gourds? PMCA offers 2 options for PMCA style gourds and racks. Also don't underestimate decoys. Owls for sure always attack what they perceive to be the most stationary target.
2018: 0 pair
2019: 0 pair
2020: 0 pair: 1 ASY male visitor
2021: 3 pair: 13 eggs

16 S&K Bo 9 double stacked gourds; 8 PMCA Excluder Gourds; 2 Trio metal houses converted from 12 units down to 6.
birdman in buckhead
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:47 am
Location: Small Town Buckhead, GA (not ATL Buckhead)
Martin Colony History: 2018: 1 pair, 5 fledged
2019: 3 pairs, 10 fledged
2020: 3 pairs, 13 fledged
2021: 13 pairs, 46 fledged

Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. I've got an airhorn and will use it if/when I see a hawk. I say it's a coopers hawk because that's the only type of hawk I've ever seen around here in middle Georgia. I've also seen my birds divebombing them after they had raided other bird nests in the neighborhood.

Question: Where is the best location to place a decoy? On the house/gourd rack, or nearby on a fence, or on the ground???

I attached a pic of the bird housing setup in my backyard. I moved the scarecrow to where the bird victim's remains/feathers were located after the hawk attack. I figure the hawk stage attacks from the trees behind the back fence - trees are about 60 yards from the PM housing. If seen in time, the distance should give a bird enough time to sound the alarm, especially now the birds are on high alert. Dogs should also help keep hawks away. After more thought, since I didn't check under the bird housing and see the PM victim until 9AM, it could have been an owl attack during the night. Regardless, I don't have hawk or owl guards, but will add them for next year.
Attachments
Birdman's Backyard.jpg
Birdman's Backyard.jpg (325.71 KiB) Viewed 501 times
GEAUX TIGERS!

Cheers!
Birdman
Whippy
Posts: 869
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Plano, Texas
Martin Colony History: See Signature

Birdman,

I placed my decoys in the path of the Martins exit from the gourd rack and housing. They would have to fly by the decoys when they left. By doing this, the decoys are then in the path of the hawk if it decides to bust in on them when they are on the gourds. The decoys will slow the hawk down when she flies past them. In many cases last year, the hawk would hit the decoys allowing the Martins to escape. This year she was not being fooled by them.

Some landlords will place decoys on top of the housing so the hawk would focus in on that when hitting the racks or houses. Some have worried the decoy would attract the hawk but most believe the hawk is attracted to the noise and commotion of the colony and will bust in to try to take one of them. In that case, the decoy on the housing will hopefully get hit.

Hope that helps.

Coolwhips
2016 - late to put up, many visitors
2017 - 1 pair, 3 fledged
2018- 2 pair, 12 fledged
2019 - 4 pair, 21 fledged
2020 - 15 pair, 67 fledged
birdman in buckhead
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:47 am
Location: Small Town Buckhead, GA (not ATL Buckhead)
Martin Colony History: 2018: 1 pair, 5 fledged
2019: 3 pairs, 10 fledged
2020: 3 pairs, 13 fledged
2021: 13 pairs, 46 fledged

Coolwhips,

Thanks for the reply and info. I'm going to place one decoy on top of the house, one on top of the gourd rack, and one on top of the fence that is in line with the most frequent route the martins fly to/from the housing.

FYI - I have not seen any evidence of another hawk/owl attack, but the martins are in a constant state of high alert! I'm concerned about doing a nest check at this time, but I believe it's needed since chicks are about the fledge, eggs hatching, and other chicks in between. Should I do nest checks now, or wait for the birds to calm down? They constantly squawk at me any time I get near the housing - something they did not do before the hawk attack. I'm not sure if they will ever calm down considering chicks are about to fledge!

Comments and/or advice is appreciated from any fellow landlord. Some of my neighbors think I'm sort of nuts being so concerned about "my" birds and doing nest checks. I'm not at all worried about what they think! I take pride getting the housing cleaned out and ready for the birds to arrive, and when they do arrive it's one of the highlights of my year! I'm sad to see them leave, but know I did the most I could to ensure their survival.

Cheers!
Birdman
GEAUX TIGERS!

Cheers!
Birdman
Post Reply