Winter in Ohio means doing chores in the grey and the dark.
The grey was darkening as I closed the sheep gate a few days ago, and heard the pounding on a window. Glancing at the old chicken house, I saw a shadow.
The chickens moved out of the old chicken house months ago. They are now living in a house with windows that close and few, if any, drafts. After their departure, we closed the windows and doors of the old chicken house.
Something was definitely in the chicken house. I stopped and looked at the dust-covered window.
A bird, big and pale, with long tail feathers, flapped against the window.
A hawk? Could a hawk get into the chicken house?
He definitely couldn't get out.
I walked around to the chicken house door and debated my next move. If I opened the door, would he come flying at the opening and my face?
Approaching the door sideways, I unlatched it, stepped to the side and kicked it open.
I peeked inside.
The Cooper's hawk, or chicken hawk, sat on the perch, staring. He was neither going to thank me nor scold me for coming to his aid.
I left the door open for him and finished the evening chores. When I returned to the chicken house, he was gone. So, too, I realized, were the huge flocks of starlings and sparrows who had made the chicken house their home.
For more info on the Cooper's hawk, click here.