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612551 tn?1450022175

Birds of prey and small pets.

I have raised the question of the risk my 20 pound Westie might have from large birds of prey - Red Tail Hawk is the largest bird that feeds on mammals around here.  I think 20 pounds is more than they can lift, but I was still concerned one might sink in the talons  and try.  I fond no one who shared my concern with a dog the size of a normal to big Westie.

Yesterday late morning me and my Westie went our the front door and I was about 20' ahead of him, he was still close to the house, perhaps 15' from the front door, when a bird suddenly appears coming down in a steep dive and was already turning upward when I spotted him at about 10' off the ground, between me and the hours.  I am well over 6' and the bird was a bit over my head, but not more than a few feet.

It all happened fast and the bird was out of sight over the house by the time I had recoiled and began to think.  I am not sure how big, or what kind of a bird beyond being a Hawk.

Was it coming after our dog and turned when it saw how big the dog is, or how close I (over 200 pounds) was to the dog?  I don't know but I know I'd be very cautious if I had one of those very small lap dogs that are under 15 pounds, some may be under 10 pounds.
5 Responses
1832268 tn?1326816010
Hi Jerry...
I agree with you, I have no doubt that hawk was on an attack path...!  After all, the hawk won't know if he can lift something off the ground, until he tries..!
I had a similar experience a few years ago, with my chihuahua. His attacker was a bald eagle, fortunately, I was close by, and when I saw the eagle swooping down towards my dog, I was able to divert his attack, by throwing my walking stick at him..!  The eagle was only about 8 to 9 feet above my dog when I spotted it, descending rapidly, and aimed right in on him....!  I know if I had not been so close, and was not able to take good aim with my walking stick,  it would have flown off with my dog. Scary.....what a horrible thought.
I live in the country, in Northern Minnesota.....close to several lakes....next to a river....and have a pond in a field, in my back yard. I also have 2 small dogs, and have to be ever watchful for raptors whenever I let the dogs out, or take them for walks. Even if the dogs need to get out at night, I worry about the owls....as we have several...!  Every year, I hear horror stories about someones dog or cat that has been attacked, and or carried off by a raptor.
So.....you can never be too careful.....not even with your Westie. And as you know, even if you are close to your dog, your presence is not enough to guarantee that a hungry raptor won't try to get a quick meal....!
1832268 tn?1326816010
Hi Jerry....Check out this website....it will answer your question for you.
Be sure to keep a good eye on your dog, especially now, during the migration, when you will have more raptors than normal passing through your area.

612551 tn?1450022175
Thanks, about what I thought, 20 pounds is pretty safe, still the bird I saw was on an attack path - no other reason for it to be headed toward the ground at a high rate of speed, and flaring out near the height of my head, 6'+

As the site notes, anything can be attacked, including me.  I'm sure a hit by the talons in an attack dive would do damage to any size dog.

NJ is in a flyway, best I can recall the main hawk migration was months ago..I forget but there were many posts on the JerseyBirds blog as the official count was being made.
612551 tn?1450022175
Sounds like a harrowing experience, good thing you had a waking stick.  I'm approaching the need for one and always use a wading stick when fishing in a nearby river.  We have over 5 acres, a year-around brook in the lower property and a park next door with a small, acre or two pond.  We also had a White Pine woods in the park for many of the years we have lived here.  During that time Great Horned Owls were common.  Succession of the woods to hardwoods had reduced the Pine and we no longer hear or see GH Owls.

I read you post above to my wife, who has some mobility problems - so much so she doesn't wake far.  I knew she would be interested in you tale of fright - the Westie is her's, I just take care of him ;  )  I'm more a Golden Retriever type, the last dog we had for about 11 years.  

What is the dog in your Avatar?  TwoBits?  I believe I saw you lost that dog recently.

  Being of Swedish decent many of "my countrymen/women" live in your area.  I don't know of any family members living there, but may be some are there.  My father (Swedish side) died when I was but toddler and I never really knew/met his family... none lived in the Colorado area where I lived through high school - Navy took me away and I never moved back.  More than you need to know but I tend to chat (sorry about typos)..

Sounds like you have some good fishing in your neighborhood.
1832268 tn?1326816010
Hi Jerry...
It sounds like you live in a nice area. It's a shame about the loss of your White Pines, I'm sure more than just the Great horned owls have left the area. So many little birds love the pine trees. (So do I )  Of course, we have plenty of pine trees in Minnesota....that will soon be covered with snow...!  We have had snow flurries all week, though we don't have any that is staying on the ground just yet.  Our pond has a thin layer of ice covering it, and the bird baths are frozen solid.

My Mom had a Westie...what a great dog she was. Mom's dog had a skin condition called Malassezia. I know you have been having some skin issues with your Westie. Did you get things figured out...?  Did the vet rule out Malassezia...???  

My avatar is my Yorkie...yes, "TwoBits"... She was 15 years old and ended up with kidney failure. I had her euthanized 2 years ago. I sure do miss her. I still cry almost everyday...gosh I love my dogs. I currently have 4 dogs.  A chihuahua, a terrier cross, and 2 boxers.   TwoBits was one of 4 dogs, and after she died, I was not going to get another dog....I figured I was down to 3 and that would just have to be enough. But...6 months later, the little terrier cross dog ended up at my house, and to make a long story short....we decided to keep her.  

Swedish you say...?  Yes, there are plenty of Swedish and Finnish people who live around here..."Oh Ya, You Betcha..!"  I wouldn't doubt it if some of your relatives do live in this area."Dos Svedes and Finns, Ya,dey sure cot a lot of kits!"  Ha....They sure had big families back then. My dad had 13 brothers and sisters...!  What part of Minnesota was your Dad from...?

Northern Minnesota is beautiful. Lakes, lakes and more lakes....so if the fishing isn't good at one lake, you just head for another.  Most of the time, people are fishing for Walleye. My husband on the other hand, is doesn't care what he catches...he will cook up anything...!
The way the weather is, it won't be long before people will be ice fishing.

Thank-you for the contribution you have made to Med Help Jerry. Over the last several months  I have checked into this site quite often, and read the posts, but, rarely comment. I have noticed that you have replied to many, many posts....So, "Thank-you"  It's so nice to see that everyone gets some kind of response to their questions.

I hope you and your wife have a nice week-end.

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