December 6, 2006

Hawk repellent?

This evening, shortly after dark, I was stepping into the enclosed backyard where Fred, my older son's large white rabbit, lives, when a gray shape suddenly swooped down out of the night sky and a white shape shot across the lawn inches ahead of it and took refuge in the dense star jasmine bush.

The hawk (or perhaps an owl, but it looked more like a hawk) landed on the roof of the house behind us. I threw lemons at the predator, but when it took flight again, it landed on the telephone pole in the backyard and peered down hungrily. Eventually, it tired of the lemons flying past and took off for parts unknown, but I fear it will be back for Fred.

I can't imagine anything smaller than an eagle could carry off Fred, who weighs several pounds. A few years ago, I saw a hawk struggling to lift a squirrel it had killed off a San Fernando Valley sidewalk, and certainly a big bunny weighs multiple times more than a squirrel. (That hawk finally gave up carrying off the squirrel after about 100 crows came from all around to squawk menacingly at the hawk's encroachment on their suburban turf.)

In a fair fight, face to face, the bunny would stand a good chance against the hawk, using the claws of its powerful hind legs to slash downward at the bird. Still, the hawk could do a lot of damage to Fred with its talons in one of its dive-bombing runs. The rabbit, who has pink eyes not suitable for bright conditions, spends sunny days deep in the bushes, but at night he likes to come out and frolic on the lawn. I had never heard of local hawks attacking at night, but this one clearly does.

So, tonight Fred is in the house, but he chews through all the lamp cords and aggressively poops in front of the door of his mortal enemy, Whopper, the little bunny who lives in my younger son's room. I want him back outside soon.

So, does anybody have any advice for preventing bloodshed in the backyard?

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Anonymous said...

Your very best bet would be and enclosed area (including top) for Fred. Hawks absolutely can and will kill rabbits and bunnies are in fact no match for them. They can be very persistent. Scarecrows might help if you move it around everyday.

Anonymous said...

So what happened to Fred?