The small birds drawn to your yard by the feeders may inadvertently attract predators as well. Due to this, while these birds of prey may not bat an eye at the bountiful seeds in your yard, they can now be spotted in any place that has these feeders.
While predators like Cooper’s hawks or sharp-shinned hawks may not harm you or your yard, they are certainly a threat to the smaller visiting birds. If you’re an avian enthusiast and can’t stand the sight, you can learn how to keep hawks away from bird feeders.
Table of Contents
- Ways to Deter Hawks Away From Bird Feeders
- 1. Place your bird feeders in a safe place.
- 2. Get a guard dog.
- 3. Refrain from ground feeding your birds.
- 4. Temporarily take down your feeders
- 5. Remove hawk food sources
- 6. Remove Hawk Vantage Points
- 7. Hang reflectors in your garden
- 8. Install a Cage around your Bird Feeders
- 9. Put a scarecrow or a fake owl
- What Are Things You Shouldn’t Do to Prevent Hawks?
- Helpful Tips/FAQs
Ways to Deter Hawks Away From Bird Feeders
Here are some simple and humane ways to keep hawks out of your yard. While it’s true that hawks eat smaller birds, please don’t resort to unorthodox methods to resolve the issue, especially if you consider yourself an avian lover.
1. Place your bird feeders in a safe place.
Position is everything. Consider placing the feeding basin somewhere hidden from the view of predators. As hawks tend to fly overhead while looking for prey, a good rule of thumb is to place the food somewhere that can’t be seen from above.
For starters, hang your bird feeders under a tree or shade to prevent the unfortunate event of hawks eating birds. In addition, by positioning the feeding platform near trees or brushes, you’ll give the birds plenty of places to flee once the predators appear.
Placing the feeders under a roof, umbrella, or an awning are also a good choice if you do not have enough shrubs or plants in your garden. Also, make sure that you hang the troughs away from possible hawk vantage points, such as dead branches or fences.
2. Get a guard dog.
Getting a watchdog, especially a large one, to patrol your garden will scare hawks in backyard areas. Such dogs are territorial and aggressive towards predators, such as hawks, thereby protecting your chickens and the birds visiting your feeders.
3. Refrain from ground feeding your birds.
Birds out in the open and foraging in the ground are a sure meal for hawks waiting to grab them. Hawks would eat any slow-moving target on the ground, from squirrels to birds that are eating the seeds you scatter on the ground.
Therefore, never sprinkle seeds on the ground. Once you do, you’ll make birds, squirrels, and other seed-eating animals vulnerable, which consequently attracts more hawks to your yard.
4. Temporarily take down your feeders
Remove your feeders and other food sources for a week to discourage hawks from staying in your garden. However, this is only a temporary solution. You can also do this while thinking of a more long-term solution to scare away hawks but not birds.
5. Remove hawk food sources
Hawks will only hang out in your backyard if they are likely to get a meal there. Aside from birds, hawks’ meals can vary from rabbits, squirrels, snakes, and mice to frogs.
To remove these animals, keep your yard clean, and take out your garbage regularly, as it can attract rodents. Similarly, spray environmentally-friendly repellent around the area to keep insects and other species from dropping by.
Once you remove these food sources, hawks may not show up anymore.
6. Remove Hawk Vantage Points
Examine your yard and remove elements like a tree stump or a post where hawks can perch and survey the scene for small animals they can eat. Without a comfortable place to perch on to find prey, hawks can fly by your yard without noting the feeder and its visitors.
Note that the fence around your house can also be an ideal vantage point for these predators. If possible, switch to wire fencing to deter the birds. Similarly, install roosting spikes on ledges and walls that hawks may rest on.
7. Hang reflectors in your garden
This is a DIY hawk deterrent that is cheap and effective. The bright flashes that bounce off the surface of hanging reflectors, such as old CDs or mirrors, can scare raptors away.
For this method, use a string to hang the reflectors around your garden. Make sure that direct sunlight can bounce off the surfaces; otherwise, they won’t work as effectively.
You can also opt for store-bought ornamental reflectors that are convenient and easy to install. However, note that these might also deter the songbirds you want to attract to your yard as well, so proceed with caution.
8. Install a Cage around your Bird Feeders
A specialized cage around your feeders will act like a shield to protect songbirds. Birds know when a hawk is around, and when this happens, they will have a place to run into when a hawk suddenly swoops on them while feeding.
The cage will also deter squirrels from coming near the seeds, thus reducing another potential food source that may attract predators.
As the cage features horizontal and vertical bars, it can partially block the hawk’s visual field. You can also consider getting products with an overhead roof that makes it harder for birds of prey to spot the smaller feeding animals.
9. Put a scarecrow or a fake owl
Hawks are one of the most intelligent birds, and although they may be afraid of owls, putting a fake owl to scare hawks can be an effective solution to scaring off hawks when the decoys have a moving mechanism.
A moving decoy that is rendered to look like a real owl with moving wings is a good choice and will have hawks scrambling away in no time. You can also move the position of the decoy to make the decoy look more convincing.
Another possible hawk deterrent is a human-sized scarecrow. If possible, put in a mechanism that would create movements to trick the hawks into thinking it is a real person.
What Are Things You Shouldn’t Do to Prevent Hawks?
- Do not shoot, trap or attempt to kill hawks. They are protected by federal law, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, prohibiting any harm or violence towards birds, including hawks.
- Noise deterrents may deter a predator but will also keep other birds away from your feeders. Loud sounds to scare hawks away can work, but this may not be a sustainable solution, considering the noise can also negatively affect your next-door neighbors and their pets!
What do hawks eat?
Hawks have a carnivorous diet and would eat a variety of small animals. Their meal includes living, breathing small animals that can fit inside their mouth, from ducks to rabbits, songbirds, and even snakes.
Furthermore, there have been reports that hawks may even target domestic animals, such as pets, from small dogs to kittens.
Do wind chimes keep hawks away from my backyard birds?
Hawks detest noise, and loud wind chimes may keep them away. However, this method may not always be effective, considering that the noise’s loudness will depend on the wind’s presence and strength at a particular time.
When hawks won’t leave, what should you do?
When you have exhausted all efforts, it’s time to ask for help from the local wildlife authorities to keep hawks out of your yard. They are experts in handling wild creatures and will know the best thing to do for you and the welfare of the hawks.
It’s not easy to get rid of hawks in your backyard because these birds are very intelligent, cunning, and intimidating, even to humans.
After this article, I hope you now know how to keep hawks away from bird feeders. After all, these methods are all easy to do at home, and you mostly need everyday household stuff.
Try out our suggested solutions, and let us know in the comment section how effective they are. We’d love to hear from you.
George and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.