Amish and the Eagle..

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A 28-year-old Amish farmer in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is making headlines this week for his shooting of a juvenile bald eagle that was allegedly preying on chickens.  Sounds like it could plausibly be a case of mistaken identity and he really did think it was a hawk.  Below is a photo of a juvenile bald eagle.  I still wonder, though, if there isn’t a better way to ward off raptors than shooting?  It would seem that eliminating the troublemaker will simply clear the way for another to take its place.  I’m wondering if a scarecrow or something similar would have been more effective?  Maybe one of our farmer readers can shed some light.  As it is now, we have one national treasure dead and an Amish man facing possible jail time.  Click here to read the whole story.  It is unlikely, by the way, that such a case of mistaken avian identity would have occurred in an Amish settlement like Holmes County, Ohio.  Bird-watching is a widely embraced pastime among Amish there.  The hobby enjoys a wide following among Ohio Amish, but not as much in Lancaster County, PA.

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The Discussion


  1. I can see how this could happen. Hopefully the judge won’t think to make an example out of the man since it sounds as though it was a mistake (although the fact that the bird was previously shot in the knee makes it appear to be habit for this fellow to shoot any birds near his farm.)
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  2. Unless PA is vastly different from other states it is illegal to kill hawks unless you are Native American.

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  3. Scarecrows don’t work on birds, even crows, very well because they figure out it isn’t real. Plus hawks and larger birds don’t have as much wariness of people as smaller birds. There really isn’t much way to stop them if they persist in catching chickens. Killing them is about it, unfortunately. I grew up on and still live on a farm with chickens and never heard of any better way. If someone else out there has any ideas that do work I’d love to hear them also.

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  4. Barb Wright says:


    As far as I know,there isn’t a good way to prevent the occasional chicken theft. I have lost a few to hawks over the years. Hawks and eagles are both federally protected. My hubby is a licensed taxidermist,so he knows the laws..and those ones are strictly enforced! As a response to Vicci..we are in PA and as I said,hawks are protected by the federal govt. so it is a crime here as well.

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  5. There is this really neat invention called ‘chicken wire’.

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  6. Turtle Mom says:


    The Federal Migratory Bird Act protects hawks, eagles and most other birds, with just a few exceptions. I hope the Judge throws the book at this idiot! He ought to be thankful he isn’t being prosecuted at the Federal level or for killing the hawks, as well. If you don’t want your chickens to get eaten by birds of prey, keep them in an enclosed area. Otherwise, expect to lose some of them. The eagle and the hawk are only doing what is completely natural.

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  7. Unfortunately, ignorance is not an excuse for this young man. He needs to protect his chickens from the raptor, not the other way around. We have chickens and we protect them from predators by providing an enclosed chicken yard and putting them in the barn at night.

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