West Seattle wildlife warnings: Watch your chickens!

We hear about coyotes and raccoons all the time, but West Seattle chicken owner Alyssa says you should keep your eyes on the skies:

I live on 35th near Kenyon Hall and have 3 little backyard chickens. I thought I should let everyone know…I had the little chickens free ranging in the yard (Monday) and a hawk literally swooped down and would have taken them if I hadn’t lunged. I was sitting about 10 feet away and saw it coming in my peripheral vision. I knew we had dogs/cats/raccoons/opossums/rats after our chickens, but this one actually surprised me! Of course I didn’t get a picture, but it looked possibly like a cooper’s hawk? It was brown with white streaks on the wings, not too big, maybe 16 inches tall? I have attached a picture of the chickens, it was the little ones it went for — they are only a couple of months old. West Seattle needs scarecrows, I guess??

P.S. In the vein of the “co-existing with coyotes” link we often include in those reports, we have found a “Living with Wildlife: Hawks” link for info from the state, if you’re interested.

32 Replies to "West Seattle wildlife warnings: Watch your chickens!"

  • DRS September 18, 2012 (3:13 pm)

    I’ve has passing thoughts about this when I let the bunnies out in the yard, worrisome to know it almost happened to Alyssa’s chicks!

  • Real September 18, 2012 (3:25 pm)

    Moved here 2 years ago from a mountainside in VT. Birds of prey were a constant presence, along with some very large black bears. The hawks will be back as long as your chickens are there. Best to be on the range with them. Doubt a scarecrow will stop them from taking a young chicken.

  • john September 18, 2012 (3:30 pm)

    Chicken Hawk!

  • smokeycretin9 September 18, 2012 (3:51 pm)


    sorry had to

  • G September 18, 2012 (4:02 pm)

    Close call! Welcome to the world of the farmer who calls these hawks “chicken hawks.” That along with the coyotes who are very devious about getting into coops.

    Country meets city. Maybe those dumb farmers really had something to complain about after all.

  • Trying! September 18, 2012 (4:20 pm)

    Both hawks and coyotes go for light colored domestic animals. My pure white cat was frequently spotted by hawks. I’m guessing that they don’t want to mess with wild animals such as raccoons, and light colors are a signal that this is easy prey.

  • herongrrrl September 18, 2012 (4:58 pm)

    Yep, I’ve had hawks check out my hens, too. That’s why they now live in a Maximum Security Chicken Facility, that includes chicken wire over the top of their enclosure. (That keeps raccoons from dropping in from overhanging trees as well.)

  • Kevin September 18, 2012 (5:17 pm)

    Those are some lucky chickens! Good thing Alyssa was there to save the day!

  • Idle September 18, 2012 (5:46 pm)

    We have had hawks and/or falcons checking out our birds in this same neighborhood. We covered the run last summer after a bird of pray landed in the run while our girls were out. It was smaller than the chickens and took off when my husband ran over to see why the chickens were yelling.

  • juniperberry September 18, 2012 (5:57 pm)

    Glad they didn’t get your chickens. My sister wasn’t so lucky with hers — the hawk tore one apart in front of the others — and the others were so scared they didn’t come out of their coop for days. My bother-in-law had to beat the hawk off with a broom, and then it came back at him again as he was attempting to pick up the remains :(

  • Nichole September 18, 2012 (6:02 pm)

    I had a raccoon make a hissing sound at me start to crouch like our was going to attack me on my walk today going up admiral by 60th near the bus stop. I had to stomp at and yell no! This was broad daylight and I had no pets with me at all. Very scary.

  • Mel September 18, 2012 (6:44 pm)

    My chickens, esp. the youngest ones, keep themselves hidden by staying 1) under the deck, or 2) spending a large part of the day foraging along our fence UNDER the cover of dense shrubbery & tree limbs. There is where they want to be- not the nice sunny open areas. Must be evolution! Nearly impossible to see them, even for me. I don’t think a predator bird has a chance, so I don’t worry about birds getting them. Now, raccoons… that’s another story. :(

  • LTM September 18, 2012 (7:28 pm)

    Maybe you should report the “hissing” raccoon to the Animal control??? rabid???

  • mike September 18, 2012 (7:49 pm)

    Hissing racoon tells me you either cornered it or you were close to its babies. Hawks and eagles love chicken, just normal behavior.

  • thegodshavegonecrazy September 18, 2012 (8:22 pm)

    Yes, let us all brainstorm and submit our best designs /ideas for a prototype “scarehawk”. ;)

  • nichole September 18, 2012 (9:37 pm)

    trust me I did nothing but walk by…if it was cornered I don’t see how.
    Babies…could be as it came out of a big bush to hiss at me.
    I’ve already called animal control about the unusual amount of racoons hanging out in the trees in North Admiral in the middle of the day creeping me out as the watch my every move.
    They never got back to me and it didn’t seem too concern either.
    I think its common accepted knowledge that Admiral and Alki our completly over run by racoons. Not something I enjoy at all! I walked home around 11pm from the junction after summerfest this past year and started seeing multiple racoons right around PCC all the way to my home on Alki. I crosed the street ( Admiral ) at least 5 times because I saw them ahead and they scare the crap out of me. They also live in and have taken over the homestead. I couldn’t let my son wait for the school bus alone two years in a row because his stop was right there and every morning was saw so many racoons it was alarming.

  • JoAnne September 18, 2012 (11:45 pm)

    Do everything you can to stop that first kill from happening, because if a predator gets one bird, it will keep coming back forever until it gets all of them.

  • Amy Thomson September 19, 2012 (7:16 am)

    I keep chickens, and I never let them out without supervision. Our coop has a run that’s covered on top. Even with supervision, they got dive bombed by a hawk. Man they’re fast!

  • KBear September 19, 2012 (9:54 am)

    Oh no! Hawks don’t belong in an urban environment! We have to eradicate these hawks before they harm our children!

  • sc September 19, 2012 (9:55 am)

    Met a raccoon in my driveway this morning about 6:10 am. It just looked at me until I stomped my feet and made noises. Even then it just loped away slowly. Near 46th and Charlestown.

  • yacman September 19, 2012 (1:07 pm)

    The raccoons in the state of Washington do not carry rabies.

  • SDS September 19, 2012 (4:19 pm)

    Oh no let’s not turn this blog into another coyote blog!

  • Bubba September 19, 2012 (4:21 pm)

    Washington State raccoons don’t carry rabies? Rabies come from somewhere and who’s to know a raccoon couldn’t get it?

  • karlyross September 19, 2012 (4:33 pm)

    I live in Gatewood and also keep chickens and have seen quite a few hawks hanging around lately. I often see them circling like they’re stalking something. Our coop has a covered run, as well as our backyard being covered in trees, I don’t worry about the hens too much, but often wonder what poor animal they are stalking.

  • yacman September 19, 2012 (6:32 pm)

    Hey Bubba. You might find this interesting. I really wish people would stop worrying about rabid raccoons around here. The only significant animal reservoir for rabies infection in Washington is bats. http://www.nwcphp.org/resources/rabies/animal-rabies-wa

  • yacman September 19, 2012 (6:34 pm)

    Here is a more recent survey of rabid animals in the state. http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/5100/rabiestested-past.pdf

  • rmp September 19, 2012 (7:41 pm)

    Hawks don’t belong in urban areas!!!! Hope you were trying to be funny! (but weren’t) Hawks also go after small kittens … my grandson saw one taken during summer, really bothered him. I agree time to put a top on the coop! Good luck.

  • Bubba September 19, 2012 (7:49 pm)

    OK, OK, geez didn’t mean to get a bee in your bonnet yacman.
    You’re right and I’m wrong…I’ll go stand in the corner now.

  • Bubba September 19, 2012 (7:56 pm)

    Wow that’s nice to know our raccoons are rabid free.

    I guess the raccoon in question was just having a bad day! LOL!!!

  • Rio September 19, 2012 (9:20 pm)

    Raccoons will not be aggressive unless you’ve come across a mom and her babies or if they feel threatened for whatever reason.

    As yacman pointed out with a reference to Washington’s Public Health’s website, raccoon rabies has not existed in WA state for a long while.

    Chickens can be protected if the coop is well built to protect against predators.

    Please learn about wildlife species rather than perpetuate myths especially with regards to raccoons.

  • Patricia Bell September 19, 2012 (10:50 pm)

    I live just off Admiral and 51st Ave and we do have a mama racoon with 3 young ones that roam the area at all times of the day. I also have chickens and was very surprised to see a small Hawk take a dive off the telephone wires near my yard. Fortunately my chickens were in the coop but I do let them out to their enclosed “daycare center” during the day. It is covered with large rhodys so they do have some protection. Never-the-less I will keep an eye out for this little Hawk. He had beautiful white & tan striping on his front chest.

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