Do hawks eat birds?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Do hawks eat birds?” We will also discuss the predators of hawks and address how you can keep Hawks away.

Do Hawks eat Birds?

Yes, hawks do eat birds, but not all hawks eat birds exclusively. Some hawks will eat small mammals, reptiles, and even invertebrates.What hawks eat is mainly dependent on the prey available and the species of hawk it is. 

For example, the Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a North American hawk that primarily eats birds. This hawk will target small to medium-sized birds, such as sparrows, robins, and jays. 

In contrast, the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a North American hawk that has a more varied diet.  Red tailed hawks love eating rabbits and rodents mainly but eat birds as well

One study found that the diet of Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii) in North America was primarily composed of American robins (Turdus migratorius), mourning doves (Zenaida macroura), and house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus).

While hawks will eat many different types of birds, they typically prefer to eat birds that are small to medium in size. This is because smaller birds are easier to catch and kill than larger birds. 

These birds of prey eat animals due to their carnivorous mode of nutrition. Their diet consists of small to medium-sized mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects. The eyesight of hawks is keen and this enables them to spot prey that are at a distance. They tend to hunt in the daytime.

Once Hawks get to a prey, they capture it using their talons and kills. They eat the prey by tearing it into pieces then eating it a whole. Rabbits are the most common Hawks prey.

Hawks will also prey on rodents such as mice and rats, as well as small birds such as sparrows and finches. Apart from birds and mammals, reptiles are also attacked by Hawks. Examples of these reptiles are lizards and snakes.

Insects like crickets, grasshoppers and beetles are also eaten by Hawks.  A hawk’s location and species affect what it can do at the moment.

Hawks typically eat 1-2 times per day, but this can vary depending on the species of hawk and the availability of food. Some hawks may eat more frequently when food is abundant, while others may go for longer periods without food when prey is scarce.

What are the predators of hawks?

One of the main predators of hawks is other hawks. These raptors will often hunt in pairs, with one hawk distracting the prey while the other swoops in for the kill. Other predators of hawks include owls, eagles, and larger birds of prey. 

These predators will often attack young or sick hawks, as they are easier to catch. Finally, mammals such as foxes, weasels, and raccoons will sometimes prey on hawks.

Hawks have a few different adaptations that help them to avoid predators. Their sharp eyesight allows them to spot predators from a distance, and their powerful talons can be used to defend themselves. Hawks will also build their nests in high places, which makes it difficult for predators to reach them.

How can you keep Hawks away from Bird feeders?

Hawks are attracted to areas with a lot of prey, so the best way to keep them away is to remove potential sources of food. This means keeping pet food and garbage securely covered, and not leaving any food out in the open. 

If you have a bird feeder, place it far away from any trees or other structures that a hawk could perch on and watch from. You can also try hanging shiny objects around your property, as hawks are said to be deterred by bright, reflective surfaces.

If you can avoid ground feeding of bird feeders, it will help to keep hawks away. One way to do this is to place the feeders in trees or on high platforms where the birds can feed without being on the ground. 

Another way to avoid ground feeding is to use a feeder that has a tray or cage around it that the birds can reach into but that will prevent them from landing on the ground to feed.

Put netting around the perimeter of the area you want to protect, such as a garden to create a barrier that makes  it hard for Hawks to cross.

For more details on the different types of Hawks and their nutrition. Click here.


In this brief guide, we have answered the question, ‘do hawks eat birds?” We have also discussed what hawks are and how to keep them away.

Hope you find this blog useful, in case of any questions please let us know.


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