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luckypenny January 23rd, 2012 08:30 PM

Can I do anything about a hawk killing our wild birds?
Hi everyone!

I've been spending hours every day feeding and watching wild birds but, I'm thinking I may have created a problem :o. We have either a hawk or falcon (can't really tell the difference between the two) that I see every other day or so. When all the birds disappear from the feeding area, all I have to do is search the tree tops and, almost certainly I'll see it nearby. This morning I found some remains of a dead bird :(. No other animal prints nearby other than a rabbit's and a mouse/mice. There is, however, large bird prints, almost 3 times the size of regular birds' prints so I'm concluding it was the hawk/falcon. Is there anything I can do to protect the little birds from it? Or will I just have to stop feeding them altogether :(?

hazelrunpack January 23rd, 2012 11:14 PM

You have a couple of options. You can provide shelter for the little birds to give them hiding places, or you can pull your feeders for a couple of weeks until the hawk moves on.

If you can get some old Christmas trees (make sure any tinsel is removed) and put them a few meters from your feeders, the birds can use them as shelter if the hawk appears. Keep in mind that the branches should be pretty dense--you want something with large enough spaces for your little birds but not so large that the hawk can go in after them.

Probably your best strategy, though, is to remove your feeders temporarily. The hawk needs to eat pretty frequently so if he's unlucky in your yard for a couple of weeks, he's likely to move on to better feeding grounds. Your little birds will stick around and when you start putting the feeders out again, they'll find them pretty quickly.

And congratulations on your successful feeder set-up!!! You don't attract hawks if you're not getting a pretty good crowd of song birds at your feeders. :D

Melinda January 24th, 2012 03:34 AM

a week ago I had to cover up/take in all my feeders because our hawk was back and on the hunt....I put them back out just yesterday, seems every year at this time he/she arrives....makes me angry *L*

luckypenny January 24th, 2012 09:15 AM

Thanks for responding, ladies :).

Hazel, I have no idea where to get old Christmas trees now. There is a dense cedar hedge behind the taller trees but I'm guessing it's obviously not good enough to provide adequate protection. I actually planted 5 Pine trees but it'll take another 10 years or so before they'll be of any help :rolleyes:.

I also feed lots of squirrels and rabbits (and, unintentionally, mice too :D) so I'm a little worried about them finding food if I stop altogether. I guess putting nuts and grains under the cedars only wouldn't help :o?

Melinda, after getting over the shock of seeing the remains of the dead bird, I got pretty angry too. The :evil: in me was contemplating making a slingshot :frustrated:. But I couldn't do that :o.

luckypenny January 24th, 2012 09:17 AM

Oh, if I remove the feeders for a few weeks and the little birds stick around, do you think the Cardinals and Blue Jays will come back too :fingerscr?

hazelrunpack January 24th, 2012 09:38 AM

Yep, they will. And spreading seed under the cedars, as long as the branches are low to the ground, will help a lot. The birds are used to the dangers of hawks--they'll cope. :D As for the squirrels and rabbits and mice, they are in no danger from this particular hawk (hawks tend to specialize in mammals or birds, but usually not both). Our sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks clear the birds out in a flash--the squirrels, rabbits and voles don't give a hoot. If a red-tailed hawk goes over, it's the opposite--the little birds keep eating, the mammals go running...

I just found evidence of a hawk strike on a mourning dove out by the feeders. Lots of feathers and no birds to be seen. Must've just happened. I saw a Cooper's the other day as it missed a strike on a different dove. Usually, since we have ample cover and the doves are obviously on the alert (despite one having been taken, they're very flighty and cautious today), we leave the feeders up. Birds feeling threatened will be scarce at the feeders for the next few days and the hawk will find less prey, so will move on by itself.

Melinda January 24th, 2012 09:46 AM

they sure will, in fact, (and this is sooooooooooo not me) I had to take my broom and chase my 3 squirrels away that are so tame they will sit on us to eat and hold our hand to get a treat.........I quit feeding them also, and yep, after two weeks they came back.

hazelrunpack January 24th, 2012 09:50 AM

Oh, and something to remember about your feeder is that birds only supplement their diets with stuff you provide--it's an easy source for them, but they also have access to wild food that's available. So even in winter, they'll be able to keep themselves fed unless it's horribly snowy or extraordinarily cold....

doggy lover January 24th, 2012 10:15 AM

I had this problem at the cottage too so I took the feeders down for a few weeks then I moved the feeders into the cover of some pine trees so that the hawk would not be able to swoop down on the poor birdies. I did find the hawk had a baby that flew into my window one time when trying to copy its mom going after the little birds, lucky it was ok.

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