The chickens were making this noise (click on the link below to hear it) and we instantly knew that high above us was at least one hawk.
The chickens instantly ran to their nearest rooster, knocking over the water jugs set out for them, running into walls and, in their terror, even flying into us! Rodney and Scuttle have been, recently, battling to become head rooster and each was giving the head-rooster hawk alarm call, nervously running here and there, checking on all the lesser roosters and the hens in their watch. The lesser roosters behaved well: they herded their hens next to trees, the truck, their coop, buildings and whatever tall object they could find that would make it difficult for a hawk to swoop down and sieze one of the hens.
We got a picture of these hens with Patrick, our Rhode Island Red Rooster:
It’s clear who the hens and lesser roosters trust more, though: Scuttle gave the “all clear” signal for minutes before Rodney, but when Rodney sang “all clear,” the hens immediately relaxed and went about their business. This is due, in part, to Rodney’s good manners and courtesy: he dances and sings well, he greets all the hens and lesser roosters politely, he never mates the hens without their permission, he never is punitive with the lesser roosters whom he battles and wins against. Scuttle is as uncourteous as he is uncouth, and though he is twice Rodney’s size, Rodney is easily able to beat him in battles defact of his courage. Rodney is brave enough to be head rooster, and the other birds know it.
The hawks, for their part, were entirely disinterested in the chickens, having spotted a family of rabbits long before. They were stalking the rabbits since early in the morning, waiting for them to come out. However, our watchful roosters knew that as the hawk swooped wider and wider in a gambit to lure the rabbits out, if the hawk lost interest in the bunnies, chicken might be on the menu.
Good job to all the roosters!