Sunday, November 27, 2011


November 27,2011

As I rolled over in my warm bed trying to figure out what had wakened me I listened to the sounds outside my window. The cold late November air was pierced again with a sound I’ve became use to over the years.

“Aaaaaa” like rapid machine gun fire, something had the guinea fowl’s in an uproar, but it didn’t concern me. Anyone that has ever raised guinea fowl knows that all the guineas in the world share one brain cell and it is never your birds day to have it. Something as simple as a leaf blowing in the wind can set them in a tizzy.

As I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep the guineas continued sounding their alarm cry and soon Piper Peacock joined the chorus “Onk heee, Onk Hee” as the rooster crowed and the geese joined in honking their intruder alarm. The cacophony of startled bird cries was soon joined by Sir Oliver Inkwell sitting on the bedroom window sill meowing loudly.

Okay, so now the critters have my attention. Freeing myself from the bed covers I fumble for my eye glasses on the night stand and go to the window to see if I can see what is going on.

For several seconds I stood watching the birds to get a clue as to where the intruder was. The birds had the big cedar tree outside our bedroom window encircled. They definitely had something trapped under there, occasionally I could see rapid movement fleeing from one side to another under the skirts of the large tree’s ground touching branches.

Whatever it was it was fast, but moving as if possibly injured. Cat maybe? No I only saw two legs. Guinea after guinea would charge under the huge cedar at whatever it was and then dart back out as the quickly moving shadow would alternately run at the guineas and flee from them.

Piper Peacock paced nervously around the tree honking her dismay at the whole procedure. Piper doesn’t care for any changes in her world what so ever (well except for maybe wanting a male added to the flock). She honked and voiced her opinion loudly. The geese stood back watching the whole display cheering the guineas on honking their approval as each guinea charged under the tree. Repeat Rooster stood on the back porch railing crowing, but offering no real help as tiny Turk the Turken hid under the back deck.

I continued to watch as I reached for the clothing I had laid out the night before. Just then the shadow charged after another guinea foray and stepped out of the shadows of the tree.

A small young brown hawk ran limping from the tree to over by the house. The guineas soon cornered it near the compressor as it flapped its wings and charged back at them.

He was fully puffed out his speckled feathers standing on end and looking quite stressed. He made an effort to fly away from his tormentors, but hit the fence of the garden and landed in the flock of geese that had been watching the whole spectacle. The geese separated and looked at the small bird like “yeah right, You’re a chicken hawk, but we’re not chickens.” They didn’t even bother to run off because the bird was so small and obviously injured.

I turned and told Gary what was going on. He was quickly dressed and out the door. To see what needed to be done. While hawks aren’t welcome around here, we don’t want any animal suffering. The guineas were determined they were going to pay this young hawk back for every keet other hawks had ever carried off.

I kept an eye on the hawk from the window until I saw Gary going toward it. Then headed out to help him.

When I arrived in the side yard Gary was watching the sky. He said that the hawk had recovered from bouncing off the garden fence and in a panic when it saw him had gathered enough strength it had swooped skyward and flew off over the trees to the west of the house.

He said the flight was labored and it seemed to be dangling one foot a bit, but it had gone far enough the guineas couldn’t get to it and it had landed in a tree that he was pointing at. The tree was several acres away from our location, so we did not try to follow.

Of course the guineas strutted around for several minutes after that telling the world how they had beaten the mean old hawk, as the much wiser geese just looked at them indulgently.

Little Turk, who is the smallest of our free ranging birds finally came out from under the porch and snuggled up with Repeat as if to say “My hero.” Apparently the inexperienced young hawk had tried to get her not realizing he would not fit through the lattice of the porch like she would and had crashed into it injuring himself.

We surmised this by the hawk feathers near where Turk had been hiding. Earlier this week Turk had been running around with two chicks, they of course had disappeared. We figured this hawk is probably how they disappeared and he came back thinking he was a good enough hunter to get Momma bird too. Boy was he wrong.

I doubt that particular hawk will ever be back as long as the guinea crew is on duty.

Jan who is up for the day and ready to decorate for Christmas in OK


  1. Oh my goodness that is SO funny! I'm sorry to hear that the chicks were a meal but so glad that the avian army protected Turk and the rest of the feathered family!

  2. LOL! I'm a "Chicken Hawk and you are a Chicken!" that's what kept running through my mind while I watched the small hawk. Unfortunately losing young birds is part of raising free range birds. We use to keep everyone totally penned and unprotected, but it was just so unhealthy for them and they were so unhappy. So we made the decision to let them live naturally, which unfortunately includes loss to predators.