hawk landing in backyard

5 Easy Ways to Deter Hawks from Your Backyard Birds

In Lawn & Garden, Tips by Jamie

Many homeowners enjoy having birds in their backyard, whether it be accidental or purposeful. Having bird feeders and bird baths can create a lovely environment for wild birds, but this also includes hawks. You may not know this, but hawks are notorious for hunting and eating smaller birds, including the innocent ones that you enjoy daily.

Thankfully, there are many easy ways for you to deter hawks from your backyard birds. If you have always wondered how, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will address why hawks might be hanging around your home as well as how you can deter them from your backyard and the innocent birds that occupy it. Let’s get started now!

Why Are Hawks Hanging Around My House?

The primary reason homeowners have hawks hanging around their homes is because you’ve likely created a natural environment that they enjoy. You may reside in an area that has a lot of wildlife, including birds of prey, or perhaps you have particular things that interest them, including the presence of food.

Hawks are interested in areas that have a wide variety of prey for them to pursue, including rodents and other birds. Birds of prey are even more likely to spend time around your home if they have trees and high vantage points to watch out from. Whether you know it or not, you have likely created an environment that hawks truly enjoy, even if it comes at the expense of other birds.

Can Hawks Eat Other Birds in my Backyard?

Yes, hawks eat other birds in your backyard. While hawks eat a variety of things, smaller birds are one of their primary food sources. This may surprise you, but it is common for many birds of prey to pursue smaller birds, whether it be for a meal or over a territorial dispute.

What Do Hawks Eat in General?

Hawks eat a wide variety of things, but it is important to keep in mind that they cannot carry away anything that outweighs them. Hawks always carry off their meal and eat it away from the presence of other animals, so having something that is lightweight is very important to them.

Some common prey eaten by hawks include:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Rabbits
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Squirrels
  • Bugs or insects
  • Chicks or small birds

While it may not be realistic to eliminate all potential food for a hawk from your backyard, it is important to keep this in mind. You may have a wide variety of potential prey in your backyard other than small birds, and this may be another attraction for hawks or other birds of prey.

Are Hawks Dangerous to Humans?

In general, no, hawks are not dangerous to humans. They prefer to keep to themselves and do not normally attack human beings unprompted. Hawks understand that humans are far larger than them and are much more of a threat than other smaller animals, but this does not mean that you are completely safe from these birds.

Hawks are still equipped with sharp talons and beaks, along with a natural territorial aggression. If a hawk happens to have a nest nearby, it is best to avoid that area. You should also never grab or attempt to capture a hawk, as they are likely to lash out when they feel as if they are threatened.

How to Deter Hawks from my Backyard Birds?

Curious to learn how you can deter hawks from your backyard birds? Read on to learn some of our expert tips for preventing any drama from happening to your sparrows and finches!

1. Provide Cover for the Birds

Sometimes, all you can do is provide shelter for your backyard birds. This is one of the best methods of protecting birds from hawks and deterring hawks from attacking them. You can get creative with your shelter, but sometimes all it takes is moving your bird seed or bird feeders to a more protected location.

Provide Cover for the Birds

Some potential shelter or cover includes shrubs, densely packed trees, bushes, and even your own patio or gazebo. It’s a good idea to place your bird seed or bird feeder near any one of these locations, within six to 10 feet. This gives even the smallest of birds the chance to fly quickly into shelter if it feels as if it is being threatened by a hawk’s presence.

A single large tree doesn’t count as cover for your birds. In fact, having large and tall trees near your backyard may be one of the reasons that a hawk is spending time there. Hawks need a vantage point to scope out their prey, and giving them a comfortable perch is one of the worst things to do if you are trying to discourage a hawk from hanging around your backyard birds.

2. Remove all Hawk Food Sources

Another option that you can try in order to deter hawks from your backyard birds is to simply remove any other potential food sources. Some of these include large concentrations of insects, such as ant hills, and any potential pests in your backyard. If you have noticed a large amount of rodents or reptiles, such as snakes or lizards, you may want to consider hiring a pest control service to help you remove these critters.

It is important to note that you should never utilize poison or other harmful chemicals if you are trying to take care of a pest problem. Using rodent, insect, or reptile chemical products often backfires, including doing harm to your backyard birds or backyard ecosystem in general. Get in touch with a professional for this, and prioritize protecting your backyard birds through other means.

3. Remove Bird Feeders for 5-10 Days

While it may take some time, many experts recommend removing your bird feeders and bird seed from your backyard for 5 to 10 days. This is a good idea if you have observed a hawk circling or spending time in your backyard, as removing any food sources for any birds will lead to a decline of bird activity.

While this means that your backyard birds will also dissipate, they are likely to return when you put the bird feeders back out. You will need to create a situation in which a hawk no longer deems your backyard comfortable or a good source of food. By eliminating your backyard bird’s food source, however briefly, this will show the hawk that your backyard is no longer a place for it to also get food and shelter.

4. Use Shielded Bird FeedersGray Bunny Squirrel Deterrent Bird Feeders for Outside Hanging w/ 4 Perches - Premium Grade Steel Caged Tube WildBird Feeder - Chew-Proof, Weather & Water Resistant

Did you know that you can purchase bird feeders with a variety of different shields and protection for your backyard birds? Many of these feeders are built with cages and plastic surrounding the birdseed so that a small bird can easily access the food, but a large bird such as a hawk cannot attack the backyard bird while it is feeding.

You should still make an effort to install the bird feeder in a location that offers ample protection, such as a shrub or under a patio cover. This will further protect the birds, as a hawk can still attempt to attack your backyard birds while they are feeding. However, this solution is best when combined with others, as a hawk can still see and pursue a backyard bird who is feeding at one of these shielded feeders.

 

I recommend checking out a product like this one on Amazon. This option gives small birds an opportunity to feed and rest on a small perch without fear of a hawk getting them. While a hawk may still try and attack a bird while it is feeding, it should give them enough time to escape without getting hurt!

5. Do Not Ground Feed the Birds

While you may not see the initial benefits of owning a bird feeder, one of the worst things you can do to your backyard birds is feed them on the ground. Not only can bird seed rot and grow mold spores when placed upon damp grass or ground, your backyard birds are left completely open and vulnerable to an attack by a hawk when feeding in an open area.

Simply scattering bird seed around your backyard leaves smaller birds completely vulnerable to an attack from a hawk. Hawks tend to wait in nearby trees or taller areas, and they will have no trouble attacking and killing any backyard bird that is feeding in an open area. Taking the time to purchase and install bird feeders in safe and secure locations is one of the best things you can do to protect your backyard birds from hawks.

What Doesn’t Actually Keep Hawks Away?

There are many things that don’t actually keep hawks away, contrary to popular belief. Some of these things include scarecrows, fake owls, reflective objects, noise making devices, your own pets such as cats or dogs, and other motion activated devices.

While some of these methods are worth a shot, hawks are extremely intelligent birds. Even if one of these things deters them briefly, they are likely to return without hesitation. They are smart enough to know how these devices work so that they can avoid triggering them or otherwise being bothered by them in the future.

That is why the best solution for actually keeping hawks away lies in preventive care. You should make your backyard less appealing to them in any way possible, including all of the above solutions for keeping hawks away from your backyard birds. While it may take some time, a hawk will give up if it feels as if there are no opportunities for prey or a meal.

Do Not Kill or Trap Hawks!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should never kill or trap hawks. Not only is this unfair to a beautiful bird of prey that is just trying to find its next meal, you also risk hurting yourself in the process. Hawks are not aggressive towards humans, but they have many capabilities when it comes to defending themselves.

There are also many different laws in place to protect birds such as hawks. You run the risk of breaking these laws and facing fines or other negative outcomes, so it is always best to reach out to your local pest control or  wildlife centers if you are dealing with a particularly difficult talk. There are always solutions that don’t involve the killing or trapping of innocent wild animals!

Final Thoughts

Removing or deterring hawks from your backyard birds can be easier than you think. However, some hawks are particularly insistent and can be more difficult to remove. Always be sure to reach out to your local animal control before taking any drastic action against these beautiful birds of prey. Soon, you will likely achieve the peace and quiet that you have always wanted for you and your backyard birds!

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.