Hawks at your feeders are something you're bound to run into if you feed birds long enough.
They stalk bird feeders by perching on tree or hovering high overhead.
You may or may not even be aware of its presence, but the lack of birds at your feeder could be a good sign there is a predator nearby.
Sometimes it throws you for a loop. You look outside at your feeders and you see no birds.
For several days or even weeks, you've been watching all the different species of birds visiting your feeders, then it seems all the birds stop visiting.
You wonder, "where have all my birds gone?" You can stop looking at your bird feeders and start looking at the sky and trees.
You may have a hawk in the area. What can you do?
If you're not already aware, there are strict laws when it comes to these birds. Killing these birds brings pretty harsh penalties.
Take down your feeders for a few days. The hawks will look elsewhere for food.
Your feeder birds will leave to find food, but they'll soon return once you fill your feeders again.
The hawk may have found a new hunting area when you feed again.
Where you place your bird feeders is important. Wide open spaces offer easy access to hawks.
Brushy areas with tall or low-to-the-ground bushes can give birds a place to hide until the danger passes.
If yours is a case where there isn't any natural cover, you can build a brush pile of trimmings from other plants.
Pick up discarded Christmas trees and place them around your feeders. They will last all winter long and you can discard them in spring.
Consider purchasing bird feeders with wire cages that allow songbirds in but keep the hawks out. See Bird Feeder Below.
These types of feeders will keep the birds from being picked off without warning. There are many types available at a reasonable cost.
Try to purchase the one that has the largest circumference.
I've found the smaller ones are visited less and in Spring, large birds can reach in and eat a lot of your seed in a short amount of time.
Lastly, accept that some of your feeder birds are going to get caught. That's just the way it is. Hawks at feeders don't have to ruin your enjoyment of watching and feeding birds.
Hawks and Owls are very useful in keeping populations of rodents down and this is a good thing.
None of us wants to see our little birds captured and taken away by the Hawks, but the Raptors have to eat as well.
And if it helps, keep in mind that it is most often the weak and sick birds that get caught by hawks.
This is also helpful to the rest of the bird population, reducing the risk of diseases spreading from bird to bird.
Don't stop feeding the birds just because you have Hawks at your feeders.
More birds will survive because you feed them than will be lost due to hawk predation.
Let me finish by thanking you for caring enough about our birds to even search for this topic. I hope this helps and Happy Birding!
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