SOAR was alerted to a Facebook post where a landowner’s chicken was taken by a hatch-year red-tailed hawk. The original poster asked if a fake owl would keep the chickens safe?
A plastic owl on a post may keep a natural predator away. But if humans and our domestic animals share space with wild animals, then it is up to the humans to keep their domestic animals safe from predators… or at the very least understand that nature is doing what nature does when a natural predator takes a domestic animal, like the chicken.
- Understand it could happen.
- Protect domestic birds with safe screening material over their outside area. Search for ‘aviary netting’ or search for a backyard chicken owner website for suggestions.
Know and understand:
- The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and state laws make it illegal to kill, capture, possess (actual bird or parts of, including feathers), harass, or harm any bird of prey. Violations are punishable by fines of $5,000 to $250,000 or more, jail sentences, confiscation of possessions, and revocation of licenses.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act passed in 1918, made it illegal to shoot any bird or possess feathers, nests, or eggs. Birds of prey were added to the act in 1972. Each year, SOAR admits raptors and other birds as a result of illegal shooting. Even one illegally shot raptor is too many.
- Read up on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (often seen noted as MTBA) here.
If you know of illegal activity that is or has taken place, you can anonymously report the activity through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-532-2020.