If you are a free range chicken owner you understand how much of a threat birds of prey are to your flock. We have certainly witnessed first hand what a hawk can do to your beloved chicken.
At our farm we (I and Brewster) are always on hawk patrol. If I’m out in the field and I see a large shadow soar across the grass, I instantly look up to try to identify it. The problem is, here in Wisconsin we have a high population of two types of birds that are very similar yet mean two totally different things to our flock. I’m going to try and give the basics of identifying Hawks vs. Turkey Vultures as I am still trying to become a pro at this so my farmer neighbors can stop hearing me scream across the field at the chickens to take cover because I think I see a hawk soaring overhead.
Here is what I’ve learned so far:
- The wing tips of turkey vultures look like fingers where as the hawks wings are less defined and smaller.
Hawk on the left Turkey Vulture on the right.
- Vultures sore in circles for longer lengths of time. Hawks soar for much shorter lengths and do a lot more up and down passes
- Vultures tend to wobble when soaring where hawks stay smooth and steady.
- Vultures soar with a slight V shape in their wings as hawks fly flat.
- Vultures have a dark belly as hawks have a light colored belly.
- Seems vultures fly/soar in groups where hawks are typically solo or with their mate.
So there you have it. These two birds are a common sight for us and I will continue trying to figure out better ways to tell them apart.