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A Close Call!

Even though our EDU-Garden® is a classroom, it’s still a part of the great outdoors. We often forget that our garden isn’t an isolated universe, but part of the larger eco-system. We got a wake-up call from Mother Nature this week, when a hawk came swooping around looking for dinner!

One of our beloved chickens ran right out from under the talons of a hawk as he swooped down out of nowhere, hoping to fly off to his nest and enjoy his dinner. It was a close call for sure! The chickens were running for cover and squawking the “Hawk!” cluck, dashing into their roost. The teachers and kids were right behind them, waving their arms and shouting!

“Golly, my heart is racing,” said one of the teachers who was a part of the whole scene. “I feel like I am working for National Geographic!”

It is somewhat of a miracle that the chicken actually escaped. Hawks have unbelievable eyesight and are 99% accurate, flying up to 120 miles per hour in pursuit of their prey!

So, now what can we do? All species of birds of prey are protected and well they should be; in some areas they are threatened with extinction for several reasons. For one thing, raptors, as birds of prey are called, feed high on the food chain and since they are rather long-lived they are subject to the bioaccumulation of pesticides as they travel up the food chain. Just one more reason to concern ourselves with pesticide use.

Back to “what can we do?”, well, we will just keep our chickens confined in their roost until such time as we can put a net over their free range area and then keep a watchful eye on the sky! Perhaps the hawk will decide that rats and snakes are easier prey and move on. In the EDU-Garden® observations of the natural world happen every day and our students are a living part of that drama!

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