But I've Only Ever Helped You... by Windfalcon

But I've Only Ever Helped You...

Windfalcon

29 October 2012 at 11:15:54 MDT

Birds of prey in the United States are protected by Federal law, yet this still does not stop some people from shooting them. One of the most common reasons of raptor shootings is through the outdated belief that these birds will ruin a farm by hunting livestock. True, a hawk may occasionally go after an unattended chicken (what predator WOULDN'T go after an easy meal?) but such predation on livestock is not as common as the prey raptors such as the red-tailed hawk prefer - rodents.

Red-tailed hawks are expert rodent hunters. Having one or a pair of these birds on a farm is the most cost-effective, environmentally friendly method of rodent control you can have. Yet people still shoot these birds, under the belief that they need to remove them from their property as a 'risk.' As any responsible farmer knows, putting your animals outside will ALWAYS run the risk of predation. You should be more worried about stray dogs or cats getting your chickens than a soaring hawk.

In 2002, a woman in Pennsylvania was charged with killing and trapping 171 hawks. The reason? She disliked that the birds were hunting game birds that she released on her property to train her dogs. This woman received a fine of nearly $130,000 and avoided jail time. This 'fine' was a slap on the wrist for the woman, who was a millionaire and still saw no problem with what she did.

It saddens me that raptors are still being killed for these 'reasons', which are not really reasons at all and more excuses to shoot at birds that really do more help than harm. Those who shoot hawks to protect a few chickens are shooting themselves in the foot...as these birds do more to protect crops from rodent damage than any pesticide, trap, or cat could ever do.

Watercolor on hot-press Fabriano, 5 X 9 inches

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