What Do Hawks Eat in the City?

  • By: Jim
  • Date: July 3, 2022
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Hawks are predators, and they rely on other animals for food. In cities, hawks primarily target pigeons, sparrows, mourning doves, titmice, and other common birds as prey. They will also feed on rodents, rabbits, lizards snakes, and fish. If the opportunity arises they may even carry off smaller livestock like small lambs or baby goats.

Many of the aforementioned animals are a natural part of a hawk’s diet. However, as cities grow in size, the number of different species that hawks can prey on will continue to decline.

This is due to the fact that many of the animals that hawks rely on for food are not found in urban areas. As a result, city hawks often have to make do with whatever food is available to them.

Do City Hawks Eat Birds?

Hawks are predators that hunt other animals for food. Smaller birds are one of their favorite prey items because they offer a good source of nutrition and are relatively easy to catch. However, crows will often scare hawks away and hawks will avoid owls.

Hawks typically eat a variety of smaller birds, including doves, quails, and sparrows, and hawks will carry off your chickens. While some hawks will eat larger birds, such as ducks and grouse, they typically prefer smaller prey. In addition to birds, hawks may also eat rodents, snakes, and insects.

In addition to being a good source of food, hawks also enjoy hunting small birds because it provides them with a challenge. Catching small, fast-moving birds requires quick reflexes and sharp eyesight, both of which help to keep hawks sharp and agile.

There have been few documented cases of hawks eating bird eggs as well.

Can You Find a Red-Tailed Hawk in the City?

Red-tailed hawks are often larger than other hawks, which makes them easier to stop compared to smaller forest-dwelling hawks. It’s not uncommon to see a red-tailed hawk living in urban areas. In fact, their home ranges are actually smaller in urban areas compared to rural areas.

This suggests that urban areas provide higher-quality habitats for them.

One reason for this may be the abundance of prey in these areas. Small creatures such as rabbits, squirrels and rodents are attracted to the outskirts of cities where there is more open space. This provides a steady food source for predators like the red-tailed hawk.

Additionally, trees and tall buildings provide perches for a red-tailed hawk to watch for prey and escape from predators. Red-tailed Hawks also benefit from the lack of hunting pressure in urban areas.

There are not a lot of predators that prey hawks in the city which means they are able to thrive in these bustling cityscapes.

Conclusion on What Do Hawks Eat in the City

Hawks in cities have adapted to a diet of smaller prey such as birds, pigeons, and sparrows. They will also eat other small animals like rodents, rabbits, lizards snakes, and fish (though hawks cannot swim so fish is limited). If you live in an urban area and see a red-tailed hawk perched nearby, know that it’s likely eyeing up its next meal.

FAQs on Hawks and Their Favorite Prey

What Do Baby Hawks Eat?

A baby hawk is fed primarily by their parents. The food that a baby hawk eats depends on the species of hawk, as different species hunt for different types of prey. For example, Cooper’s hawks primarily eat small birds, while red-tailed hawks typically consume snakes and rodents.

The Young Cooper’s hawks can fly and hunt on their own when they are just five weeks old.

In general, baby hawks will eat whatever their parents bring them. However, as it grows older and begins to hunt on its own, a baby hawk’s diet will develop based on its own dietary preferences.

Note that hawks only eat meat so the next time you see an abandoned baby hawk, don’t feed it fruits or seeds.

Are Hawks Carnivores?

Hawks are predators, and their diet consists almost exclusively of other animals. Smaller hawks may eat small insects, while larger hawks may hunt for rabbits, snakes, and even other birds.

All hawks are carnivores and do not eat any significant amount of plant material. The vast majority of a hawk’s diet is composed of meat.

This diet helps to ensure that hawks maintain their high levels of energy and stamina, which are essential for hunting and flying.

What Do Red-Tailed Hawks Eat?

Red-tailed hawks hunt during the day. They are one of the most common hawks in North America, and they are easily recognizable thanks to their distinctive rusty-red tail feathers.

These powerful predators primarily hunt rodents, such as squirrels, mice, groundhogs, voles, rats, gophers, ground squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and more. They will also consume other small animals like birds, reptiles, and insects.

In addition to being skilled hunters, red-tailed hawks are also known for their impressive aerial abilities. They are often seen circling high above in search of prey, and when they spot an opportunity, they can will dive at impressive speeds.

Thanks to their sharp eyesight and hunting prowess, red-tailed hawks play an important role in controlling populations of small animals.

What Do Ferruginous Hawks Eat?

Ferruginous Hawks are typically found in open habitats such as grasslands, deserts, or sagebrush steppes. A Ferruginous hawk’s favorite foods include gophers, ground squirrels and prairie dogs.

Ferruginous Hawks will wait near burrows for prey to come out, or they may soar over an area and dive down to capture their dinner.

They will also eat reptiles, birds, and insects. This diet helps to keep the population of these animals in check, preventing them from damaging crops or becoming a nuisance.

What Do Cooper’s Hawks Eat?

The Cooper’s hawk preys primarily on birds, but it will also hunt small mammals such as squirrels, rabbits, and mice. These hawks use their sharp talons to kill their prey before swallowing it whole. They will also scavenge carcasses if they are available

What Do Red-Shouldered Hawks Eat?

Red-shouldered hawks are broad-winged hawks. Their broad wings minimize the sounds while they’re flapping their wings.

When it comes to diet, they are generalists which consists mostly of small mammals such as voles and chipmunks. But they’ve also been known to feast on frogs and toads, aquatic animals like crayfish, snakes, small birds, mice, large insects, and the occasional fish.

They will eat carrion if it’s available. In other words, a red-shouldered hawk will pretty much eat anything they can get their talons on.

What Do Northern Goshawks Eat?

Northern Goshawks as the name suggests is primarily a Northern hawk. These soaring hawks are skilled predators that primarily hunt on the ground, though they will also occasionally hunt in trees.

Their diet consists mostly of small and medium-sized mammals, such as ground squirrels, tree squirrels, rabbits, and hares. They will also eat medium-sized birds and larger songbirds.

In addition to their typical mammalian and avian fare, Northern Goshawks have also been known to eat reptiles and insects on occasion.

What Do Sharp-Shinned Hawks Eat?

A sharp-shinned hawk is a predator that hunt mostly small birds. These nimble birds of prey have been known to take on prey that is up to the size of a quail, but they typically stick to sparrow-sized or smaller birds.

In addition to birds, a sharp-shinned hawk will also eat rodents, bats, squirrels, lizards, frogs, snakes, and large insects on occasion.

What Do Rough-legged Hawks Eat?

Rough-legged hawks’ diet consists mainly of small rodents such as voles and lemmings. many rough-legged hawks will also eat tiny birds.

What Are Accipiter Hawks?

The Accipiter hawks, also known as bird-hunting specialists, are a genus of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae. They are the largest group of birds of prey, with around 51 different species spread across the world.

These wild hawks primarily prey on other birds, using their large talons and powerful beaks to kill their victims. Many Accipiters are also excellent hunters of small mammals, such as rodents and bats.

Cooper’s hawks fall into this category. They are primarily known for their speedy and stealthy hunting style.

Do Hawks Mate for Life?

Hawks are one of the few bird species that mate for life. Once a pair of hawks have found each other, they will usually stay together until one of them dies. The hawks will build a nest together and take turns hunting and incubating their eggs.

Do Hawks Eat Insects?

While the vast majority of hawks are known to primarily hunt small mammals, some species have been observed to regularly eat insects. This typically occurs when hawks are raising their young and need to provide a steady supply of food or when other prey is scarce.

Insects are also a good source of hydration for most hawk species, as they are mostly composed of water.

Swainson’s Hawks frequently switch over to insects once the mating season is over. However, not all hawk species consume insects, and those that do usually supplement their diet with other food items.

Do Hawks Eat Foxes?

While hawks will eat just about anything they can catch, they don’t actively hunt foxes. However, if a hawk finds a dead fox, it will likely eat it.

Do Hawks Eat Squirrels?

Hawks are opportunistic hunters, and they will eat just about anything they can catch. That includes squirrels. In fact, squirrels are one of the most common prey items for hawks especially the Swainson’s Hawks during their mating season. This is because squirrels are small and relatively easy to catch.

Do Hawks Eat Cats?

Hawks can and will eat cats if they are hungry enough. While hawks typically prefer to prey on smaller animals such as rodents or birds, they will not hesitate to take down a cat if it means securing a meal.

This is especially true during periods of food scarcity, when hawks may be forced to hunt whatever they can find in order to survive.

Do Hawks Eat Snakes?

Hawks are carnivorous birds of prey, so they naturally eat a variety of meat, including snakes. While most snakes are not large enough to provide a full meal for a hawk, they can certainly be part of a hawk’s diet.

Do Hawks Eat Rabbits?

Hawks are predators, which means they will hunt and eat other animals in order to survive. This includes rabbits, which are a common prey item for many species of hawk.

Hawks will typically attack rabbits from above, using their sharp talons to kill and then eat their prey.

Do Hawks Eat Fruit?

Hawks are carnivores, which means they only eat meat. They do not eat fruit, plants, or berries. Instead, they prey on small mammals, such as mice and voles, as well as reptiles, amphibians, and other birds.

How to Attract Hawks Into Your Backyard?

Attracting hawks into your garden or backyard may sound like a bad idea. But there are benefits of having hawks nest near your home. For instance, hawks love hunting small mammals such as rodents. With hawks around, the rodent population will be in check.

To attract hawks, you need to provide them with a steady food source. Grow plants with nuts and seeds that attract rodents. Additionally, you can put bird feeders to attract smaller birds which are favorites of hawks.

You also need to provide hawks a safe nesting site and a vantage point they can perch on while hunting prey.

What Do Peregrine Falcons Eat?

Peregrine falcons are apex predators, meaning they are at the top of the food chain and have no natural predators. They primarily hunt birds, though they will also occasionally hunt small mammals and insects.

See hawks eating rats in a city