I have a good-sized fenced pen attached to my house, covered with
chicken wire. I put it in so my cats could be outside without eating
birds or getting hit by cars. When my last cat died a month ago, I
hung some feeders inside the pen, protecting the seed from marauding
nighttime raccoons and deer and providing birds a place to eat that
was safe from the neighbor's feline.
Yesterday, I stopped by my house in the middle of a work day. I was
home only a few minutes when there was a racket outdoors: the sound
of many mourning doves exploding into flight, blue jays screaming,
and lots of metallic rattling. I ran to a window. About ten feet from
my face, and completely oblivious to me, was an enormous Cooper's
hawk. She (it had to be a female; it was huge!) was hopping around on
the top of the pen, focusing on a dove who was crouched motionless
inside. After about two minutes, the hawk flew a few feet to a tree
branch. The unfortunate dove decided it was safe, walked out of the
pen, took to the air and went about fifteen feet before being hit,
knocked to the ground and then carried off.
Also - there are a few bobwhite quail in South Hero that apparently
escaped from a game farm between one and two years ago and are still
around. One landowner thinks a pair might have nested this summer. At
what point do they go from being escapees to natives?