My wife raises chickens, guineas, and ducks to provide locally sourced food, as well as entertainment for our family. (Seriously, kicking back in a lawn-chair and watching these birds can be great fun - they are downright comical!)
This weekend while eating breakfast with the kids I realized we were hearing our largest rooster "Fred" give off his alarm call. I ran to the window and was surprised to see a hawk standing over the body of one of our black chickens - all the other birds were hiding in their coops. We were thinking it was a Cooper's Hawk, maybe on top of one of our small black bantams (miniature chickens).
Grabbing my binoculars to get a closer look, I almost immediately dropped them in excitement. The hawk was a juvenile Northern Goshawk - a rare and mystique-ridden woodland hunter from up North. I could not believe what I was witnessing in my own back yard! I told the kids to stay inside - no chasing off the hawk please! I went and grabbed a video camera to capture some footage.
It took the raptor 30 minutes to kill, pluck and eat it's meal. Both the hen's breasts were cleaned right off. Afterwards it flew into the woods and perched nearby - perhaps waiting for more chickens? We emerged from our hiding near the house and it took off, effortlessly disappearing into the thick of trees further back.
We were sorry to lose the chicken, but grateful that it had not been to a fox or worse yet - a raccoon. The chickens were spooked. They did not venture out of their coops till 1 PM, and then went back in to hide for most of the rest of the day. They were clearly shaken up by the unexpected visitor!
The footage (no sound) is below - the light was bad, and my scope and tripod was not handy, so the quality is not the greatest. I also took some pictures, which you can find here.