Hunting habits of hawks

backyardmamaAugust 12, 2007

Hello, I'm new to backyard birding and when all the birds who had been eating from my feeders suddenly left for a few days (squirrels, too) it was suggested that they knew a hawk was nearby. We live in a fairly wooded neighborhood where houses sit on 1/3 acre lots and a lake is within 1/4 - 1/2 mile, surrounded by heavily wooded area where numerous birds live.

The only time we have seen a hawk (that appears to be young) is after dark while walking the dog. I thought I might have seen a bird larger than those that visit my feeders fly off with something in its talons one afternoon awhile back.

Do hawks hunt in the daytime or at night? Do they perch and wait for prey or soar above and area first? Is it true that if I place my feeders under a tall tree with a large canopy that hawks will have more trouble spotting it?

Thanks for any information you can give me.

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All hawks hunt in the daytime but will use the subdued evening light for cover when pursuing prey. Different hawks use different hunting tactics- depending on the their habitat and prey that is available. Buteos like the red-tailed hawk will soar on thermals to search for small mammals or they will sit in a tree and watch for movement on the ground. These hawks are often seen perched in trees along roadsides. Accipters like the sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks will actively pursue prey through the trees. These hawks prey mostly on songbirds and are the hawks one will most likely see coming to their bird feeders. As far as placing the feeders under the trees, it certainly can't hurt and birds do feel safer with the cover of trees nearby. It SHOULD make it more difficult for the hawks to spot them but there's no guarantee. Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 12:12PM
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Thanks so much for the info.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 10:17PM
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You're so welcome! I was hoping more folks would chime in and give you better advice than mine. How is your situation going?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 10:28AM
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My chickens were being killed during the night. I actually woke at 4am to see a red tailed hawk killing one of my larger chickens. The chicken died. The pen is now hawk proof. They were free range during the day and were caged at night.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 11:02AM
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Most of our birds have returned, but I think there is still a hawk around. We though we saw him fly low over the neighbors yard last week, late afternoon/early evening.
I half want to see it perched on a fence near enough for me to photograph it and half hope that it never returns.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 5:02PM
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hi uh i have a problem now as of last night i live in an apt and my living room window faces the woods my 2 african greys were in my window getting some fresh air.all of a sudden i seen two red tailed hawks swoop down and they hit my screen .i need some advice on what to do they love being in the window

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 4:24PM
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Yikes! You are lucky the hawks didn't break the screen.

Can you put some sort of bars on the window to prevent a break-through if a hawk tries it again? There are "toddler guards" to keep children from falling out that could keep hawks from coming in.

The mesh wouldn't work - parrots would rip it to shreds.

This might -

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 8:35PM
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