If you like taking care of your farm and livestock – you can check it out here for products and technologies that can help you out – one of the enemies you fear most are probably hawks. These birds of prey are known for their agility and intelligence and you don’t want them to endanger the small animals or birds you are currently breeding. Here are some proven ways to keep hawks at bay.
What damage can hawks produce?
Hawks are raptors. This means they need to hunt other animals so they can feed. In the wilderness, this would not be a problem as hawks, like many other wild creatures, don’t take more than a fair share. They only hunt as much as they need to eat, without causing a disruption in the natural cycle.
Moreover, most of the birds and small animals hawks hunt in the wilderness are the old or sick ones, which further minimizes these predators’ negative impact. Nonetheless, when hawks approach farms or backyards, they might be tempted to hunt young or healthy specimens as this is what they would normally find there.
If you breed small animals such as rabbits or if you keep backyard birds such as chickens, you want to protect them from hawks as they can be an easy target. These wild birds are very fast and they have outstanding agility. Moreover, those who live near villages or urban areas might be used to hunting around farms and yards.
Some of the common types of hawks you might find flying around your house are American kestrels, sharp-shinned hawks, and Cooper’s hawks. If you want to prevent these skilled predators from harming your domestic birds or other small mammals you are raising for a particular purpose, you can apply some of the following preventive measures to keep hawks away.
Provide shelter for your birds and small animals
One reliable method of keeping small animals safe from hawks is to provide them a cover. This way, even if the predators often fly above your house with the clear purpose of hunting your animals, there is little they could do.
However, keeping small animals or birds sheltered doesn’t mean keeping them locked in cages for their entire life. These creatures too need the freedom to move and to feed themselves. Therefore, you should think about natural ways to provide them shelter without limiting the area where they live, let alone their basic necessity to move freely.
Planting more trees in your yard is a good solution to tackle hawk attacks. These birds spot their prey from a distance when they fly above the area. Putting a natural defense system in their way, such as a natural tree or shrubs barrier will prevent them from easily spotting animals.
Also, more trees are always a good addition to a yard as they provide shadow and help you and your domestic animals face the hot temperatures of summer easier. No matter what type of trees or shrubs you plant, make sure you do it as close to the animals’ feeder as possible. This way, they can run and find shelter fast in case hawks attempt to attack them.
A distance of no more than 10 feet between the animal’s feeder and the natural shelter is ideal. Moreover, if you want to leverage the full benefits of planting any species in your yard as a natural obstacle against hawks, you can choose those that have seeds or fruit.
What falls from the trees will represent a natural feast for eager birds and an extra reason for them to stay safe while spending most of their time under a safe shelter.
Alternatively, many farmers and people who keep chicken, ducks, or any other birds choose to build a cover for the feeder to keep them safe from hawks or other birds of prey, or simply to put the feeder under an area that has a cover.
If you have this possibility, for example, if you have a gazebo or any construction that has a generous roof, you can place the feeder there to provide shelter. More creative options include placing a large umbrella above the feeder.
Moreover, there are feeders that are already provided with a cover that can keep the birds safe if they stay close to it.
Finally, if you choose a feeder that is made of a wire cage where the birds or small animals can stay in, the chances of a hawk attack are close to zero. This type of feeder can provide safe shelter while also allowing animals to feel free and be able to see everything that surrounds them.
Another useful tip that many people ignore and that can save birds from hawks refers to how they are fed. Those birds that feed directly from the ground are at higher risk of being attacked as they focus solely on the food and can’t see the predators.
Therefore, getting a feeder that is not very low and forces the birds to keep their head higher increases their chance to see hawks in time and be able to run.
Don’t provide hawks a good hiding spot
As previously highlighted, hawks are exceptionally clever. Not only do these birds have very good eyesight, but they are also smart enough to take advantage of the surrounding environment in order to catch the prey easier.
Hawks often hide and wait for small animals or birds to get closer and then attack them. One of the ways of preventing this is by eliminating any vantage points that will allow hawks to lurk.
Dead branches, for example, are a good hideout for hawks and you should remove them. Also, hawks, just like any other birds, like to sit on fences to observe the surroundings, and the thicker and taller the fence is, the better it will work as an observation point.
Therefore, you can also modify your fences with models that are made from thin wire for example, where these birds are unlikely to linger for long.
Tackle the problem of other invaders
The birds you keep in your backyard might not be the only sources of food for hawks. These raptors like feeding on small rodents as well. If your backyard or field is also invaded by mice or other types of small rodents, the area will become all the more attractive for hawks.
If you want to reduce your likelihood of becoming a common target for hawks, you should apply treatments that deter rodents from invading your property. Make sure you only use products manufactured for this purpose and keep your own animals and birds safe from their potentially toxic actions.
Additionally, keep in mind that hawks can also be attracted by the seeds you use to feed your birds. Make sure you store them in a safe place, under cover, so that they don’t become a magnet for hawks.
Use specific deterrents
Because hawks are quite a common problem in some areas, people have come with creative ideas to keep these birds at a distance. One of them is to build a scarecrow to deter them. Some people even opt for owl statues. Both these methods can prove useful as the hawk will probably avoid getting too close if they see something that resembles a human or a bigger bird.
However, to make this method work in the long term, you should constantly change the scarecrow’s position. Otherwise, these smart birds will figure out that what they are looking at is not actually a real human or bird.
Change the feeder’s location
Once hawks have found a good hunting area, they might constantly turn back to that place. If you’ve recently seen hawks in your yard, you can expect these unwanted guests to continue visiting you for a while. However, once hawks realize they are not getting anything from a certain hunting area, they will leave it and probably avoid it for a while.
To get them to this point, you can change the location of your birds’ feeder or your rabbits’ cage for a few days, or feed the birds in an enclosed space so that hawks see there is no more source of food available for them.
Hawks can be persistent and annoying birds, and if one of the above prevention methods doesn’t help you deter them, try applying a different one or several methods simultaneously. Sooner or later, one of them will help you keep hawks away from your property.