Monday, 9 January 2012

Spring Quad Ride

Posting about our afternoon drive yesterday got me to thinking. Not that I don't use my brain on a semi regular basis but from time to time I have thought back to my years spent living in the city and what I missed. During those times I rarely spent much time enjoying spring and the new life that would be arriving with it. Not that I didn't like the warming days but I was busy. With work and family taking up all my time, not to mention trying to keep up with all the household chores, lunches, appointments and errands I rarely had time to think about much else. Not so now, I've come to realize there are important moments in time when we must slow down, look around and enjoy the beauty around us.

One of those beautiful spring days that first year we decided to take a break from our labors and take the quad for a ride around our property. Since we have quite a bit of acreage it takes forever to walk it, but on a quad in a morning we can see most of it at a leisurely pace. The rumble of the motor does take away from the experience a bit but often the wildlife can't seem to tell where it is coming from so we are most times able to see a lot more riding than walking. Spring is the time when many babies should be out and we were hoping to see maybe some deer or a moose. Sadly this was not to be, maybe it was too soon? Maybe since the little ones were so young the mothers had hidden them too well for us to spot.

However, because the leaves were not quite out yet, we were able to spot two huge nests high up in the trees. Both of them were about a quarter of a mile, maybe a bit more from the house and our curiosity drew us to them. We often see ravens around here so we were thinking perhaps they were just raven nests. Nope! The first one we came too it was a bit difficult to see what was up there but with the binoculars it wasn't long before we were rewarded with the sight of a beautiful owl, obviously sitting on eggs as she didn't fly away despite us being right underneath her tree.

This was a sight I had never seen before and although I was excited there was slight apprehension there as well. We were planning on getting chickens soon and I really didn't want too loose any to predators. However, an owl sleeps during the day time right? Nothing to worry about.

The next nest we visited held a much noisier surprise as it was a hawks nest. Another first for me!  This was different however, it wasn't just one bird sitting on a nest. Oh one was there alright! But it's partner was as well and it was easy to tell by the noise that they were NOT happy with our visit!

One of them stayed with the nest while the other circled above us screaming at us to leave. I have to say this was a wonderful ride but I came back to the house with mixed feelings. While I was happy to be able to view such beautiful birds of prey and know they were continuing to propagate their species I wondered what their close proximity would mean in terms of our farm. I tried to push it out of my mind. There were enough rodents I'm sure to go around. After all the place was crawling with mice and small garter snakes. Hopefully there would be no need for concern.


  1. Are you looking at free range chickens? If not, put a roof of wire on the run area and the hawk will not be able top get them, may drive them crazy, but will not hurt them. We had the same problem here...

  2. I love your blog! It is so inspiring. We live in over populated Southwestern Ontario and have been wanting to head west to Saskatchewan. Keep the posts coming, it is giving us lots of ideas of what we want to do, etc.

  3. In the last place we lived we had a hawk nesting and when her babies hatched at first it was neat but then the whining for food started, then the whining about learning to fly came about... LOL they are a noisy crew! I loved having them though they would come down to our drive and drink and bathe from the puddles after a good rain. ~Alicia

  4. We've had free range chickens with nearby hawks for years, and the only time it is a problem is if our chickens are still too young and light. Good roosters sound the alarm and even fight off a hawk. With a heavy breed of chicken (as we've always used) hawks have a hard time doing any damage. When we raise young we keep them in an enclosed pen until we are sure they are big and heavy enough, then we let them out. We have plenty of big trees for the chickens to forage under, near their coop. Hawks have a much harder time attacking if there is tree cover.

    Another idea some have used is placing large decoys of owls nearby. Hawks and owls are natural enemies and the sight of an owl discourages hawks (your nearby owl may help???). Placing long wires high overhead spread from tree to tree also keeps hawks from being able to swoop down between trees. And having a few good guard dogs of the right breed is a protection for all our livestock. Our Australian Shepherd is great in protecting and herding our chickens.

    Just a few ideas in case free range is what you want. Of course Canadian hawks may be very different from Florida hawks. :)


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