I grew up on a farm in SE Kansas and none of my family and neighbors were birders. Chicken Hawk was a name used by everyone for any hawk species. (Turkey Vultures were also called buzzards). Most farmers raised chickens out in the open but as far as I remember a hawk never got one in our neighborhood. Apparently somewhere or sometime a chicken was caught by a hawk so it got the name Chicken Hawk. Webster's dictionary says a chicken hawk is "Any of various hawks that prey on or have the reputation of preying on chickens". We did have a lot of coyotes around and they concerned us more than hawks so the chickens were usually cooped up at night.
Paul Habiger
Kansas City, Missouri

The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Fall Meeting: September 24-26 at Camp Clover Point