"You're probably going to hate me for what I'm about to do, but after all, I am a chickenhawk."
The following quotation was made famous by:
- Henery Hawk, Senior
- Jerry Lee Lewis
- Rush Limbaugh
1. In some parts of North America, the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is known as the "chicken hawk." This raptor ranges throughout North America, and may be found as far north as Alaska and northern Canada. While not a migratory bird in the strict sense, it does follow its prey, and therefore may disappear from the northern regions during winter. The typical chicken hawk preys principally on rodents, but will also eat rabbits, snakes, lizards, and small birds-- including, of course, chickens.
This hawk weighs 2-4 pounds. It is brown in color, lighter on its underside, and has a distinctive reddish tail which sometimes has a dark terminal band. The life span of a chickenhawk ranges from 10 to 20 years.
In addition to chickenhawk, this bird is also known as the henhawk and the mousehawk. Henery Hawk, a Warner Brothers cartoon character who would like to make a meal of Foghorn Leghorn, is supposed to be such a creature.
2. A male homo sapiens who prefers younger partners. Although the word has been used to refer to pederasts and pedophiles, it more properly relates to hebophiles, and those cases where both partners are legally adults, though one is a young adult. The word seems to have had its origin in the gay community, but is now commonly applied to relevant heterosexuals.
Chicken Hawks of note include Charlie Chaplin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Plato, and Woody Allen.
3. A person who supports a war—a so-called "hawk"—but who has avoided military service, especially in the recent past.
This sense of the word dates to at least 1986, and became widespread during American conflicts with Iraq, where several prominent supporters were criticized for having avoided past military service. When rhetoric trumps commitment, we naturally become critical.
"Chicken Hawk" Wordspy. http://www.wordspy.com/words/chickenhawk.asp
Matthew Engel. "Chicken Hawks." The Guardian August 20, 2002. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,777433,00.html
J. H. Hatfield. "Military Record" (excerpted from Fortunate Son). The Dubya Report. http://www.thedubyareport.com/milserv.html
"Red-tailed hawk." Desert USA. http://www.desertusa.com/aug96/du_hawk.html
"Red-tailed hawk." Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve. http://www.hawkridge.org/raptors/Buteos/rth.htm