Last night, we had another encounter with our local wildlife. It happened late at night, or rather, early in the morning.
I was up late working on a project, when around 1:00 a.m., I heard our chickens clucking outside. We have only a few chickens right now, mostly roosters, and we let them wander around the yard free-ranging. For quite some time now, they’ve been roosting at night in the trees, lately choosing to roost in a cedar tree in our front yard. I thought it was a good choice, as they are tucked within the branches and hidden from predators.
Or so I thought. Last night, when I heard the clucking, I knew something was wrong. Chickens are sound sleepers, and they are quite disoriented when awakened in the night. So when they wouldn’t stop making so much noise, I found my shoes, grabbed a flashlight, and headed outside.
I saw something moving near the tree, and thought that perhaps a coyote was there. (We’ve had a lot of trouble with coyotes in our town lately). “Ha!” I hollered out, hoping to scare it away. Suddenly, a huge bird flew up from the ground. I watched as it took off in the opposite direction, flying out over my neighbor’s house.
I continued toward the tree, where I found one of our small hens lying on the ground. The large bird, which must have been an owl, had planned on making this little hen its dinner. In the light of the flashlight, I could tell the chicken’s face was a little bloodied, and it seemed to be having trouble breathing.
I couldn’t leave it there, so I picked it up and started towards the house, thinking I’d find a box somewhere to put it in. As I went, it seemed to come to its senses and began clucking and hollering. I put it in our empty chick pen and headed off to bed.
How’s the bird? She seems to be doing fine, though she’s still in the pen recuperating. And the owl? It will have to find another food source. Chicken just isn’t on the menu this week!