Stephen Kahn

Pieces of Dove

In Humor on February 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm

In the last episode, I described how a small hawk penetrated the netting defenses of our chicken run and attacked my wife’s favorite hen, Big Mama, leaving a bald patch on the hen’s back.

We now have attached mylar streamers to the top netting. The streamers spin and vibrate in the wind. They now communicate to chicken hawks one of the following two messages:

1. If you approach this chicken run, you will have a psychedelic experience like none before in your hippy hawk life. (Whidbey Island has many aging hippies living here; I presume many avian predators are also counterculture members.)

2. This way to the chicken nuggets meal. There is one McDonald’s Restaurant on Whidbey Island, but it is up north by the naval base in Oak Harbor. It is at least a two hour drive by automobile. I am not sure how long it takes to fly there, but for a small hawk, it would be a long trip, and I am not sure they would serve a hawk at the fly-by window. Also the Navy jets flying over the city might pose a hazard for a visiting chicken hawk.

My wife believes our three hens are now more cautious than before the attack, thus going into their “freeze” stance more often, and spending more time lurking in the ferns. I don’t argue with her observations. That is how I stay married for 46 years.

Anyway, besides the chicken run, we have in our yard a bird feeder, frequented by chickadees, juncos, pine siskins, sparrows, woodpeckers, and other seasonal and yearly avian visitors to our woods. A couple of days ago, I got home from the gym and my wife said, “The hawk was here again. This time there was a great commotion at the bird feeder. There are a lot of feathers on the ground under the feeder. I don’t know if it caught anything, but I think it went after one of the doves.”

Besides the other birds I listed, doves frequently browse on the ground under the feeder. Once again, I have two thoughts about the messages we provide to the hawk:

1. As there is no netting or other obstacles around our bird feeder, you will find that we make dining much more convenient. There is also a Burger King in Oak Harbor. Their mottoes are “Have It Your Way,” and “Buy One, Get One Free.” At the bird feeder the mottoes are “Catch it Your Way,” and “Catch One, Come Back for Another at Any Time.”

2. Doves are a traditional symbol of peace. Unfortunately, chicken hawks are not very politically correct, and probably prefer pieces of dove.

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  1. I squirm a little at the thought of the unpleasant larger-scale metaphor implied by what seems to be the imminent dismemberment of your peace symbols.

    • David, the hawk would probably prefer that you not squirm as it pecks at you. On the other hand, perhaps hawks enjoy squirming food all the more. Here’s the closest I could find to squirming food for humans. Enjoy. (Or avoid.)

  2. The hawk’s going to eat *something*–better the wild dove than your chickens. Hopefully he’s lazy enough to take the easy route at the bird feeder. Though now you have to consider if you’re laying out bait by keeping the feeder…

  3. Cameryn,

    We are all bait in one sense or another. Fortunately, as far as I know, none of the eagles shown in this link live on Whidbey Island, but I would be a bit nervous if I saw one of them sitting on a tree in our woods.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-mizejewski/animal-oddities-birds-tha_b_797815.html

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