Into The Air

The Official Blog of Backyard Chirper

How to protect your feeders from hungry hawks

Cooper's Hawk

Courtesy of H. Gilbert Miller

If you’ve ever owned a bird feeder, you’ve probably seen this sad and alarming scene. Near one of your bird feeders is a bunch of feathers strewn all over the place as if there was a major kerfuffle. Even though you might hope that it’s simply the result of birds molting their feathers, you know that one of your precious backyard birds was plucked from the sky by a bigger bird of prey.

While you likely put out feeders to provide food for birds, you probably didn’t mean that way. Sure it’s a part of nature, but it’s not something you necessarily want to happen on your watch. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to discourage birds of prey from using your bird feeder as a place for easy pickings.

Gimme shelter

Just like The Rolling Stones, all the birds want when they’re being targeted by hawks is some shelter. There are a few ways you accomplish this. You can put your feeders near shrubbery and bushes to give birds a quick place to hide in the event of an attack. You can put a cover over the top of the feeder. Here’s what Jim Wright at recommends as another option:

Similarly, I have placed an old owl nesting box near the base of the feeders to provide an air-raid shelter when hawks are hunting.

Be mindful of where you place the feeder

I’ve talked about this at length in other posts, but it’s essential to keep in mind where you place your backyard feeder. It’s almost an art because of how many things you have to take into consideration. For example, a big danger to birds when there’s a hawk attack is windows. In the panic to disperse, birds may accidentally fly into windows, so don’t put your feeders too close to them. Also, make sure there are no great vantage points for hawks to look down at the feeder and formulate a plan of attack.

Put wire cages around the feeder

A wire cage around the feeder gives birds protection against hawks and keeps invasive species like blackbirds or squirrels from getting your seed or suet. Caged feeders usually only allow smaller birds to access the food and keep away unwanted hawks.

Remove food sources for hawks

If your backyard is filled with delicious mice and voles, hawks will be naturally drawn to your yard and will ultimately target your backyard birds. In certain areas, it’s hard to get rid of a hawk’s favorite food, but you should definitely try if you’re having a major problem.

Temporarily take down the feeders

As a last resort, if the hawk attacks are persisting, consider taking down your feeders for a while. This will disperse the birds and cause any hawks to move on from your backyard. It’s recommended you leave them down for two weeks to a month.

Don’t be cruel!

If you’re reading this blog, I don’t have to tell you not to shoot or trap hawks that might be targeting your feeders. Not only is it illegal, but it’s also plain wrong. Another thing you should avoid is releasing cats to discourage hawks because they will have unintended consequences on your backyard’s ecosystem and potentially kill more birds than the hawks!


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  1. Thank you, this is good information. I have been feeding the back yard birds for over 20 years.

    • Diane Cox

      Thank you…. 40years of birdfeeders only two hawks. My big dog was asleep in the house! We have doves as well…Hard to cover the feeders. Sad day…saw a hawk carry off one of my birds. I guess they must eat too. I just wish it could have been a rat!🐀

      • Penny

        I feel we as humans need to stop identifying the birds at our feeders as “my” and “our” birds. They are a part of an ecosystem far more intelligent than ours and has been existing way before we went to Home Depot and bought seed and feeders. Let’s all try to see it for what it is. It’s natural. They dont t belong to anyone

        • Penny

          Fuck you LIBTARD penny

          • Really? Attacking and swearing was your only reply option? Sad.

          • Kim

            This is so pathetic. Seriously, when did adults turn into 5th graders who resort to these ridiculous playground name-calling tactics when having a difference of opinion ?

          • Jade

            Well, it’s easy to spot the repugnantone on here.

          • Dick Walker

            If the brightest thing you can come up with is “Libtard”, please go back to the first grade and try again.

          • Dick Walker


            Wonder where you learned to hate so much. Did your dad or uncle mess with you as a kid? If so, there is help but you must first acknowledge that you have a VERY SERIOUS problem

          • Mbmn17

            Sometimes when you disagree, it’s more effective to say, “I strongly disagree and feel passionately about this.”

          • Pat

            I agree, Kim. Lets be adults about this. I started feeding birds in the winter, mostly for myself, I love seeing them and knowing that I provide them with a little extra help through the winter. Now I feed them year round, again, mostly for my enjoyment. Now my feeding station for squirrels and birds has turned into a death trap for all of them, as a family of hawks has moved in to the area. I guess it is time to let nature take care of its’ own. A little at a time, I will start removing bird feeders and cut back on the squirrel food that I put out daily. I can’t stand to see nature at its most violent. It saddens me to do this, but I am sure the wildlife will take care of its own, as the hawks are doing with their young. It is amazing to see them teach their children how to hunt at my feeding station. They should be teaching them how to hunt in the wild, where meals are not easy targets.

          • Monica Allen

            How old are you! By the vulgar language I am guessing you are a high school student with no means of any respect for others on this page. Not only are those looking to detour the beautiful Hawks away from the feeders it is also to PROTECT our FUR family members. If you have researched anything on Hawks you would understand that a FULL GROWN HAWK could attack a deer not by picking it up but by attacking it with its Beak and Talons that are as sharp as a butcher’s knife or if not sharper than that

          • It may be harsh, but I was kind of amused they’re both Penny. You could say they were putting their 2 cents in.

          • When you lack the intelligence, patience and maturity to engage in thoughtful and serious conversation, you do what little children do when their mommy takes away their toy——SCREAM OUT LOUD. You have added a curse word. You must be in 3rd grade now.

        • That’s ridiculous. People say it , like my self because these outside birds and even critters become to feel like family. We feed them like family, house, and care for them. Nothing wrong with that. I LOVE MY BIRDS !

          • Jade

            They are not YOUR birds. They are God’s birds for all of us to enjoy. and just as each of us will die each of the birds, Cardinals and Hawks, will die at some time. It’s the food chain like it or not.

        • Yes, but we lure them in droves to one spot. The responsibility when feeding birds falls on the individual-lacing the feeder.

        • Bonnie

          You know what Penny take a seat by your window and watch the birds and see how beautiful and therapeutic they really are! Maybe just maybe you might enjoy them as much as we all are! You seem to have lost joy in your life

        • Bill

          If birds are “far more intelligent” than we are then why aren’t they feeding us?

          • Eric

            They don’t have hands and we are giants that kill them, much like the bully on the playground preventing the progress of smaller people.

      • This same event just did happen at my feeders/home…so sad right now 🙁

      • Kathy

        A hawk just tried to grab one of my birds on the deck feeders / but thankfully missed. He sat on the rail for 5 seconds then flew up into a tree. I think I’ll take the feeders in for awhile

  2. Julie

    I get really upset when my doves live through minus 30 Celsius just to be eaten by hawks in the spring. I wish there was a real solution to keep hawks away from by yard.

    • Timothy Martinez Jr.

      Yes, it’s sad, but that’s also nature. There are things you can do, but in the end, hawks need to eat too.

    • Roosky

      Exactly what I was thinking. It’s so sadthete were 17 Mourning doves in the brush in our backyard during the blizzard. They were not even protected and they managed to stay alive then today a hawk came thru and grabbed one. I know the hawks have to eat too and they are beautiful birds, I just feel bad that I’m a part of this awful scene.

    • Pat

      I know. I am ready to shoot these birds. However I won’t. Poor doves are literally sitting ducks they are so passive. Slow too it really tested me this morning when I went out and my favorite mocking bird’s feathers and blood were on the ground. So sad why don’t they get the starlings or jays? They ruin my feeding stations. I’ll be glad when there are leaves on my big trees. Thy surround my feeder and the hawk can’t see the birds hiding there from the sky. We have had an abundance of rabbits. I think that is also drawing them in.

  3. Bobbi

    The thing is, they don’t snatch birds off of feeders- they take those eating off the ground. So I don’t see how a cage around the feeder helps with hawks, though it might help keep squirrels off the feeder.
    I keep looking for some type of umbrella cover over a feeder pole. ?

    • ElleD

      That’s what I always thought, too, Bobbi. Two weeks ago, I watched a Cooper’s Hawk appear & snatch a blue jay from a suet feeder. That poor jay screamed & screamed as the hawk plucked his feathers out one by one. I learned recently from a falconer that not only do hawks need to eat, but they also are most likely to catch birds that are slow, weak or ill, thus preventing the spread of disease among songbirds & preventing those with undesirable traits from passing those characteristics on. Still, it’s hard to watch. I love feeding & watching the birds, but very few have returned since that incident…

      • Cheryl Ann

        We had a scrub jay in our neighborhood for nearly 4 years until, yup…Cooper’s hawk got him! He was SMART (the jay)! He would watch for me to drive into the driveway and then show up for his peanuts! I miss him. We now have 2 Cooper’s hawks. I’m going out now and put tree branches next to my feeders and some shrubbery for them.

        • Pat

          The jays can be greedy but I do love them. They adore my dry roasted peanuts. I’m so sad. I wish the hawks would stick to the woods

          • Rosie

            Dry roasted peanuts? All the oil and nutrition taken from them and then offered to birds? Why don’t you give them unadulterated nuts?

            Yes, birds of prey wanting prey is upsetting but unless you are vegan, it is a bit hypocritical of humans to become upset about it.

          • I understand your sadness. I too have been feeding birds my whole life. I am, for the first time, having to deal with a hawk. Yes, its true everything needs to eat, i just prefer NOT to be the provider for them. You mentioned you wish it could have been a RAT. Its sad but poor rats (domestic ones) really have a BAD RAP. Rats are a very underrated pet, Super smart, very loving, loyal and believe it or not.. very CLEAN. Ive had many pets over many years, Guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters etc… The best, HANDS DOWN! .The RATS! They are JUST like little DOGS! I just always try to get the word out in hopes that maybe one day the ” Taboo” of the Rat name will fade.

          • It would be great if the hawks COULD stick to the woods, but “we” keep building on their land and they, like other predators, are being forced into our, now.. domain to look for food. I live in southern California near the beach and mountains. Ive had to deal with, cougars, coyotes, hawks and MORE. A hawk even lifted one of my cats right off my balcony. Im pr etty sure they would rather not have to deal with all the noise, cars, etc.
            When a tragic thing like that happens.. I just try to remember.. THEY were here first!

      • Concerned for Wildlife

        That’s incredibly sad hearing that…I would have tried to stop it…how sad..two Hawks have gotten my birds in the last month and I feel very bad about it..

      • Hi, I’ve heard the same thing, but I don’t believe that, because the hawk has taken several of my very healthy younger doves. It’s because they’re on the ground and slow. The hawk has also grabbed my young/baby healthy rabbits, because they were really unaware they were so young . They have also taken so many of my blue jays because the blue jays are the protectors of my yard. Whether 1 or 40 of my jays spot a hawk. They have a system. They jump around all the branches yellIing and calling for assistance from other jays and if it’s one or two jays . The hawk waits for the jay to make one wrong move and nails it. So old or unhealthy birds are the only victims is untrue. Mostly healthy ones get killed in my yard. Once the Cooper’s hawk found my yard. It has come everyday and will not stop. It will now challenge me when instant guard and swoop my head if I don’t leave. So I chase all the critters away squirrels and all so it leaves without dinner. It has a 117 acre wildlife land across the street from me, but stays in my yard instead. Easy pickings/buffet of so many animals for it to choose from, because I have an entire family of wildlife I care for. Including squirrels, rabbits, moles, voles and chipmunks. They all get along so well. There’s even a lone crow that has finally been accepted by all my critters except when the birds have young near by. Then they chase the crow away.

        • Debbie

          Hi Maryann
          Everything you just described is my backyard situation, but I have family members who aren’t helpful with removing my feeders. I have to look out the window while washing the dishes and witness the hawk swoop in on our beautiful critters having a meal. I know they need to eat too but it breaks my heart to see this take place in my once friendly backyard now a fear for your life meal. I don’t even want to hang up my wash.

    • Ellie kahn

      thank you for this — I Googled after a hawk hit the window by my office — have no idea if he had anything in his mouth, but I’ve been feeding lots of doves, on the ground in my yard. (I’m insane enough that I have placed umbrellas over much of the yard to hide them from hawks… no feeders. It’s good to remember that this is just nature, but I confess that I get really emotional about it all. I have 2 doves nesting on my patio and worry a lot that one will become dinner for the local hawks. I’ll stop putting out birdseed for a while… and remember that I can’t control everything. darn.

      • Barb F.

        Do you mean actual rain umbrellas? I’m having the same problem with my ground feeding doves, they are being desimated by the hawk. This hawk has been around forever., and since the neighbors trimmed their tree, she has the perfect birds eye view.
        I’m going to try the umbrella .

        • Pat

          I put my birdseed on my deck rail which is right next to a large tree. My mournings eat there. I do out some on the floor of the deck. This morning I threw bread out in my back fenced area next to the deck. I’m afraid that’s what drew my mocker. They love bread. After reading this I went and picked up the bread snd moved it to a corner of the deck. Interesting. Watch the common greckal it keeps its head up looking toward the sky when it feeds. Very smart varmit! Also do you know that jays calling loudly is to fake out other birds. It is their danger call. It keeps other birds away. Debunks the “birdbrain” label. They are smart!!!!!

          • Larry Bird

            Thanks for feeding the birds, Pat! But more seed and no bread please. Bread is just empty calories.

        • Ellie Kahn

          Wow, I hadn’t been back here for almost 2 years. Lost the name of the site. Yes, backyard patio type umbrellas. I have them all over one area of my yard, and then a picnic table below that, and I throw the seeds in the gravel under that.

          • Diane DeNuccio

            Doesn’t the seed on the ground encourage rats and mice, which just draws hawks?

      • Nanette

        Hi – I’ve watched a number of my beautiful mourning doves get devoured by a Coopers Hawk this week – and I’m curious, do you think the umbrellas have helped? and how do you keep them in place – from wind, etc?
        I’m thinking I will try it as I can barely stand to see more feather piles by my front porch.
        So sad – wish the hawks would kill off the sick and injured birds only.

        • Pat

          Since they spot their prey from the sky I would say this could help! As I was saying it is early March here and I have no leaves on my trees around the deck. It helps a lot when the birds can hide in the trees. Notice the safe birds are those that dive grab food and leave. I have noticed that with my smaller birds like tufted titmice and finches and chickadees they get a dry roasted unsalted peanut and fly quickly away same with my woodpeckers. Even my big boy red bellied grabs and runs. Whereas poor doves sit and peck like chickens. It is the easier prey to grab

      • Laurie Van Deusen

        Ellie, you described me to a t…..thank you it made me feel not alone in my thinking anymore. I “had” 10 doves now there are 3 and some born on a half wall on my porch.
        I’ve tried the dead branch pile under the feeders but the Cooper’s hawk is not giving up. I may stop feeding the birds for a couple of weeks. The weather is suppose to go easy the next month. Thank you for your comment.

        • Laurie Van Deusen

          I wonder if wire fencing formed into an arch, get two 6 to 8+foot sections and crisscross them over one another to make a dome. Fencing could have large to smaller holes, nothing too small so as the birds would get stuck…and the feeder pole could come up through the center.

        • Ellie Kahn

          Hi Laurie,
          I returned here today because I’ve been grieving after finding a pile of dove feathers a few days ago. I feel very neurotic about all the tears. I confess that I don’t feel this when I see feathers in the park, but I have a relationship with these doves because I throw them seeds and they wait for me. Sometimes it’s actually too many doves — about 15, so I’ve cut back a bit. I think it was a neighbor’s cat that killed the dove, because the feathers were under a bush, near a birdbath, and I don’t think a hawk would have done this under a bush. I have 2 doves making a nest on my patio and I was afraid it was one of them… because they were gone for a few days, but they are back in the nest. I’m most concerned now about cats. I’ve researched various ways to keep them out of the yard and had my gardener attach chicken wire along the top of the wall around our yard. I have lots of trees and bushes, but I guess a cat can hide in wait. I’ve read that birdbaths should be placed ten feed from bushes for this reason. but then there are the hawks!!! Apparently, all of my OCD attempts to control things and keep the birds safe can’t be counted on to work. darn. I’d welcome suggestions about cats. Also, I don’t use feeders, I just throw the seeds in the gravel under the picnic table. Hard to keep the squirrels away, but I also love them, and give them peanuts. maybe it’s time to get a new dog, so I don’t invest quite so much into my backyard animals.

          • Elyse Barkin

            A couple of days ago a stray cat killed both of my lovely, quirky, fun little curved bill Thrasher birds that have lived in my yard for probably the past 3-4 years. Or at least it seems to be the same Birds. it could be. I miss them. I am actually mourning them. they were both killed by the stray
            cat in the same night within an hour of each other. I miss their quirky Little voices . I miss their fussy little digging at all things. They would come on my patio and hang out and scope out the geranium plant and look in the window. Now they are gone and I don’t hear their sharp voices early in the morning and I’m very sad. Much more than I thought I would be. Don’t talk to me about the natural order of things, I know this. But, these little guys became friends of a sort and I and missing my friends.

      • Concerned for Wildlife

        ElleD…That’s incredibly sad hearing that…I would have tried to stop it…how sad..two Hawks have gotten my birds in the last month and I feel very bad about it..

    • J

      They DO take birds off of feeders. I watched it happen at a feeder next to my patio door.

    • Deb

      Cooper Hawks do in fact snatch from feeders. Unfortunately I lost a male Cardinal that had been happily living in a tree & normally came for his last feeding right before sunset..,:today he was in the feeder & the Cooper Hawk snatched my little buddy right up! He did this while I was watching the Cardinal eat.

      • Pat

        So sorry. I have only seen the aftermath of this carnage. I love my cardinals. I also do an evening feed. Jays and starlings roost early. The cardinals have the good to themselves. They eat even when dusk falls. I would be devestated to view that

      • Concerned for Wildlife

        I couldn’t witness that…how sad and Cardinals are so shy!

    • Karen H

      Yes they do! Just happened here last week. I have pictures of it for proof! I posted them on Facebook last week. People couldn’t believe I caught those shots.

    • Stephanie

      I agree Bobbi! I’ve been feeding my feathered friends and squirrels for 12 years now. Ensure they have plenty to eat, fresh water and a place to know that they are loved. They are apart of my family. All week long I’ve had 2 very persistent hawks! I don’t know what to do or how to make them leave my friends alone. It completely breaks my heart that I can’t do anything to stop them. I have feeders for my small birds and I put seed down on the ground for my larger birds. I don’t know how to protect them💔


      I got some pretty good covers from…they were like 14.99…i loved them so much i got like 6 of them. I also put my feeders under my little dogwood. I used to not put them there cuz of the squirrels but now that I have trained my squirrels to eat from their station, I hardly have problems. Squirrels are the least of my concern now that I have a hawk. I am so sad. I will fight tho…my bluejays come right to me and I have so many birds and I take pictures for my June’s Backyard facebook so I need my birds. Its so sad my cooper hawk had to ruin all the fun but I will outwit him.

    • finchman

      Escuse me but the smaller male hawk will take a small bird from a feeder quite easily ,they are far better hunters than the females.I saw a young male SP/HwK take a cole tit from my nut feeder ,its true they will go for the birds on the ground more often than the feeders,but they do get the birds on feeders too,if there is chaffinches sparrows dunnocks or blackbird or thrush,s on the ground ,as in my garden they are the birds feeding from the ground,ive got 2 collor doves and a bunch of pigeons too,the hawk will go for a small bird, usually a sparrow due to the amount of them on the ground ,ive just took all my feeders down for 2 weeks ,im in day 8 ,so 4 days to go before i put new feeders out and ive sterilised the old ones,my garden was full of every finch you can think of and all the tits 2 nuthatches ,but the green finches i could see were showing signs of trichomonosis aka fat finch disease,it seemed to be affecting males i found 1 dead in my pond,then saw a female bullfinch looking worse for wear so i brought everything in ,the ground birds and the tits are still hanging around,the gold green bull finches seem to nearly all dispersed,cant wait to get my feeders back out there,owe and ive not had a hawk attack this week as every time the hawk comes into my garden the birds all race to the hedges and i always here my window being hit as if a snow ball was thrown yet when i go out and look under the window theres no bird .

    • Kc

      I was checking on my feeders this morning, just one little bird, I was looking around the yard as I thought it was odd there was only one. As I was turning back to look at the feeder I seen a flash of brown (hawk) come down and grab the bird right off the feeder. One of the saddest things to see😥

  4. maria

    I have also placed owl and hawk decoys for the Hawks as well and they seemed to work pretty good I have to them in my backyard the bird still come around but the Hawks I think twice these because I have actually swing back and forth and they have like real life movements so I haven’t had a hot issue in my backyard for about 2 years and I used to have at least one week so works great for me

  5. maria

    I also have two massive umbrellas that totally cover the bird feeder and the Hawks have no way of getting and I have totally blocked it

  6. yvette

    Adding to the above, hawks sweep down and snatch the doves who walk along the wall, near the feeder. The finches fly away but slow moving doves have no chance. Heartbreaking to witness. I’m removing feeder for a few days in the hopes of hawk deciding to hunt elsewhere. 🙁

  7. Lisa Moreno

    I too had to take my feeder down. My neighbor who’s house is a little lower on the hill has a much better feeder for the birds only because his house is at a lower level so it gives the birds a better view of incoming hawks for them to flee. Im thrilled the success my neighbor has so at least the birds get feed but I’m sad because I miss the beautiful songs the birds around would sing when they were happy with the feeder.
    I do love the beauty of a hawk but wish they would only prey on rodents not other birds. With us being on hills we do have plenty of lizards and mice but the hawks will take what they can get if its an easy target. I thank God i have never visual seen it happen, I would cry for days!

  8. Suzi

    A large hawk just killed a rabbit in my garden … it breaks my heart. I have built a sanctuary for the birds by attaching three large metal arbors together and covering the entire structure in chicken wire. I keep the feeders and birdbath inside, and one of the arbors has a double dutch door that opens so that I can go in to fill the feeder and clean the birdbath. It really does help, but it’s not foolproof. I am now growing a climbing vine to cover the enclosure so that the hawk can’t see the birds inside. There are often 20 or 30 birds in the sanctuary at a time. Now I need to devise a way to protect the rabbits! In the summer, there is plenty of cover for them in the garden, but at this time of year, the garden is bare … perhaps more low-growing evergreen bushes would help.

    • Rosemary DiGiovanni

      Hi Suzi. I have lost many songbirds and doves to the Hawks that perch in the tall trees of my backyard. I have many feeders and birdhouses and bird bath and I even have a resident pileated woodpecker. I am now thinking the only solution is to build the birds a protected space in the form of an aviary. Would you be willing to share a photo or any suggestions you have for me to share with my handyman? Thank you.

    • Concerned for Wildlife

      God bless you! I wish everyone was as devoted to Wildlife as you are!!

    • Concerned for Wildlife

      Suzi….God bless you! I wish everyone was as devoted to Wildlife as you are!! Sorry for the bunny!!

    • Maryanne Smith

      Would you be kind enough to share photos of your sanctuary? A Cooper’s Hawk is killing off my birds! I have tried many things but nothing has worked. Thank you


        me too!! I want to build something!! My birds loooooved my yard and I spare no expense to feed and keep them comfortable…now I am dealing with a coopers hawk and am devastated

  9. My feeder is far away from the window but there is a bush near by . I watched the beautiful mail cardinal attacked by the hawk sitting on the top of the that bush. In a panic he acctidantly flew into the window, fell down on the ground. I was too late. The hawk picked him up.
    It was heart braking to watch.
    Birds gather arround the feeding area and can be snatched not even being near the feeder. I don’t know how to prezent it.

  10. CHUCK


  11. Denise

    My husband put up 8 rails from post and rail fencing we haven’t finished. Upright in a broad teepee formation. About 4-5′ between each rail. We live by woods so hawks watch from everywhere but one flew down and quickly pulled out to avoid the rails. Our birds were hesitant at first but love it.

  12. Bonnie

    I just recently seen a red tailed beastard get a huge wood pecker in my yard and was trying to kill him. I ran out and tried to kill the hawk; to which the wood pecker took off free and the hawk also took off. I have a bird feeder and have noticed that all my song birds are disappearing . I got news for you “hawk saviors”. The hawks are going to bite the dust. There’s too many of them in this area and the song birds are diminishing fast.

    • C. P. Merritt

      I know the Hawks are protected by law, but the information I read said if there is an urban over run of Hawks contact the U.S. Fish and game and they can help.
      I am having the same problem. We now have a young cooper hawk that will actually just come and sit on the feeders.
      I read that one hawk will eat 1 bird a day!
      I know my rabbits are less I always blamed the foxes, but now I really believe it is the hawk.
      One last note: the one thing the Cooper hawk really dislikes are people. I plan on spending more time this summer planting shrubs and some kind of cover. The song birds i feed everyday don’t seem to mind me when I am out working in the yard.
      I will also say that Feeding my Birds keeps the mosquito population down to almost none. So I want to help the birds who are helping me.


        I have been sitting in my yard too and my birds come and feed when they know I am out there. I also keep my outdoor music on. I won’t kill a hawk (but I want to…especially since I’ve had these birds some as babies and others for generations) I am sick over this hawk

    • CaptJ

      Agreed, Bonnie.

    • Jocelyn Shelton

      Thank you for saving that little Woodpecker! I had to chase one off today, too. I’m scared for my songbirds birds…

    • Concerned for Wildlife

      To kill any Hawk is wring on all levels….we can’t pick our Wildlife visitors and we have no right to kill any of them! Wildlife’s sole purpose on this planet is to survive and man and all the developers have taken away their habitat, so they are struggling to survive!!

    • Concerned for Wildlife

      To kill any Hawk is wrong on all levels….we can’t pick our Wildlife visitors and we have no right to kill any of them! Wildlife’s sole purpose on this planet is to survive and man and all the developers have taken away their habitat, so they are struggling to survive!! None of us should show such hatred for any species!! Two killed my little birds in the last month and it is very upsetting, but I don’t hate them or try to kill them!!

      • Karen Brock

        I’ve been feeding my birds in my yard for over 5 years, and yes I’ve lost quite a few birds female and male Cardinals, morning doves, Jays, my most recent one was a Northern Mockingbird. And this Cooper hawk isn’t afraid of people. Myself and my daughter were sitting on our side patio and this cooper hawk came in right and attacked our dog. It’s tried to get in through the patio screen door. And I did call about this hawk and was told they are protected. This has happened several times.

  13. Demetri

    I agree with bonnie. These damn laws need to come to an end. Ive only been feeding birds and songbirds for only a few months and have already had emcounters with a sharp shinned, 2 coopers, and a red tail. Its fricking ridiculous. Every hawk that is protected is opverpopulated, and there nowhere near threatened, every bird species I feed including titmice, chicadees, cardinals, sparrows, blue jays, etc, is threatened, endangered, near extinct like the woodpeckers, oron the watchlist. Humans have taken away so much habitat from birds that it leaves them with barely any food. By me feeding them im helping them survive to mate and reproduce, and I cant because in my very small yard, I have 4 hawks and 2 cats trying to kill all my birds. This morning I had to scare a cat away from the brush pile. A few days ago the sharpshinned was using a fence vine to perch amd wait for the birds to forget hes there so he can grab kne of them. Hes lucky my pellet gun doesmt work because I wouldve killed him. I only have sparrows now that hide in the brush pile all day amd I put food in there. I used to have like 30 blue jays now only 4 to 6 come but quick, not to hog up the peanuts like they usually do. It makes me sad that all I want to do is help these birds numbers grow. But we have overpopulated hawks annoying us. IF THESE LAWS CAME TO AN END HAWKS WILL BE AFRAID TO GO NEAR HUMANS PROPERTY. CAUSE THERES A CHANCE THEY WILL BE KILLED OR SHOT AT. IF YOU GUYS WANT TO conserve nature we meed to conserve the birds too not just the predators. That’s bull shit. Pretty soon I will start killing them when I get my bb gun fixed its not right. Amd unnatural for them to sit around all day in 1 spot waiting for a easy meal. Ill show you a easy bullet to your face!! Change this law seriouslybit meeds tobcome to an end!!!

    • Diane DeNuccio

      We do need a law against free-roaming domestic cats. Dogs must be leashed, but not cats??? I watched my neighbor’s cat jump up on a junco nest with 3 soon to be fledglings. Mama and 1 got away, but 2 fledglings killed before I got out the door. Cried for weeks about it. That cat didn’t kill to eat, killed only to kill. No free to roam cats! Coyotes make lunch of them so keep them indoors if you love them.

  14. LRD

    Only REAL bird and nature lovers love hawks and birds of prey. People on here who whine about hawks are immature emotionally or refuse to accept that the alternative is starving, overpopulated species that imperil and crush other species. I capture non-native species of birds like the introduced from European English House SParrows and Starlings with my remote control trap and destroy them. I do this to protect these introduced species from bludgeoning native eggs and baby wrens, bluebirds and other Native American songbird species. If you do not believe me, simply search for “English House Sparrows killing American song bird chicks.” Please EDUCATE yourself before posting weepy fairytale pleas to save the pigeons from birds of prey !

    • BPD

      I’m sorry, LRD, you are not a bird and nature lover. Killing starlings and sparrows is cruel and malicious. I am very upset by hawks getting birds and animals in my yard, too, but I would never think to kill them because it’s simply wrong.

    • charlene

      really??? not bird / nature lovers?? I guess you like seeing other birds & nature killed in your backyard..i understand they need to eat…but I don’t want my feathered friends that I choose to feed killed in my yard

    • CaptJ

      LRD, probably a good idea to speak about yourself instead of the bird watchers. Personally, I think you are way too “kill” happy however, common logic seems to me that “real” bird watchers would not want any bird killed. First, they would most likely say it’s part of the food chain and/or second, they would rather see aggressive birds controlled by some other means. Here is an idea for you though. Try trapping rodents. They would be more fun for you! And, you can EDUCATE yourself on ” the day and life of a rodent”!

    • Henderly

      >Complains about people wanting to save birds from hawks
      >Kills sparrows to save song birds

      Okay, bud.

  15. charlene

    do the “hawk” scarecrows work??

  16. Joyce Stedman

    Please can’t someone tell me what to do to save my birds? I live in a condo upstairs and the hawk comes and set’s on my balcony I don’t have anywhere else to put my feeder birds are not coming now😖

    • RSS

      We just had another hawk show up a couple times today, and now have a pile of feathers on the ground. I know that we’ve seen crows get together to chase hawks out of our yard, and they even warn other birds when they’re around. Here’s an article on how to attract crows, which I plan to do. They really are smart creatures.

      • Rlm

        Except crows prey on all the other birds by snatching babies while nesting and eats them. Blue jays and cardinals do too to some extent. Not sure that fixes or even helps the issue at hand of protecting birds from predators aka Hawks. attracting more ( then are present already) of the kind of bird that already eats other bird’s young would be seemingly counter productive to this conversation.

  17. Bob

    I learned a long time ago that if you are going to put up bird feeders, you cannot pick and choose what types of birds to feed. By adding the feeders in your yard really means you are feeding the hawks. Sounds horrible but it’s a fact. It drives me crazy to see a pile of feathers in the yard because I know what happened and it only happened because I am attracting the hawks. I am going to build some type of solid cover to at least give the song birds a fighting chance. Hawks eat birds, that is how they live but we don’t have to make it easier for them..

    • Concerned for Wildlife

      I agree with you Bob…we can’t choose our Wildlife….I feed ALL wildlife in my small backyard for 10 years now and have many visitors. The squirrels that eat all the birdfeed/treats from the birds and me mad! I am a constant bodyguard! But I have learned to accept it…because NO wildlife is worse!

      • Yes, yes and YES! ALL wildlife is equally beautiful and should be appreciated. Try to imagine, one day you woke up and ALL the creatures great and small were gone.. Only humans on earth.. That’s a planet i would NOT want to live a single day on.


      I agree Bob…I wasn’t aware of this when I first started feeding the birds. I was worried about cats. When my outdoor cat died, we fenced in the yard and put chicken wire all round the bottom so nothing would crawl in. I turned my yard into an oasis and this is the 3rd summer we have enjoyed a wide variety of east coast birds. I thought, because I live in a residential area (not really wooded but at the bottom of a mountain and the top of a hill) I never thought of Hawks. Well…I came home one night to a cooper’s hawk sitting on my fence…but looking in my neighbors yard. I figured he was looking for whatever he saw in that wide open space. Well, I have since seen him fly twice in my yard and try (not sure if one was successful) to grab a bird. I am pretty sure there is nothing I won’t do to protect my birds. I know I cannot pick and choose who feeds in my yard (not totally) but I will do whatever I can. I have a bluejay, Mory, who flies to me and I would just die if he got eaten. Jays are my passion…but I have so many others too.

  18. David

    Just witnessed the same thing happen here at my feeders. All the birds de were just a singing whil flying in and out when suddenly there was this swooshing sound and a sharp shinned hawk snatched a beautiful female cardinal from the air trying to fly away. I was sitting on the deck not more than 15 yards from the feeders. I like some of the ideas some of you have mentioned, especially the umbrellas.

  19. Cyn

    What do I do when my husband and I have hawks fly over our heads, or while trying to get a bird, almost hits us! The increased population is getting worse and well one day I am worried that accidentally they will hurt us. Any suggestions? I love the chicken wire enclosure idea, been working on that.

  20. Pam C

    I know from these post that we really love our birds but I think maybe less birds get killed if we stop feeding the Bird’s and let them find food in the wilderness maybe they don’t pile up so much and they have more bushes to hide in?? I think I might stop feeding in late spring when all weeds give seeds?? It’s so painful to see😥

    • Emily

      Problem is , there is not enough wilderness for them to feed in because we continue to cut it down to build houses , etc .

  21. Maria

    I’ve begun feeding my birds in- near shrubbs- making it difficult for the hawk to do a fast dive-swoop-grab, try concealing the birdseed making it difficult for the hawks for a clean sweep in and out quickly!!

  22. Sakiko

    I am feeding zebra doves in my yard and free my pet dove. I worry about hawks. I thinking about buying owl statue on the roof. Doesn’t it scare of dove?

  23. DAN

    Who controls the over population of Peregrine Falcons. They were introduced to MN to keep the pigeon population down but eat Cardinals, sparrows, Junco’s and Chickadee’s and any other native bird? There needs to be control of all hawks and falcons! The population of natural small birds is declining. I see less and less every year. I give my birds protection with bushes and small trees and a fenced in yard. Don’t tell me it is a natural way of life for birds when you restock Falcons and Hawks every year. If, your going to restock hawks and falcon’s to control pigeons I strongly suggest that you restock Cardinals, Chickadee’s. Junco’s and all other small birds!!!!!!!!!

    • Sandy Otis

      I totally agree. In fort Wayne, our city has no pigeons do to the fact that we breed falcons downtown. But the Cooper hawk has really taken over. My beautiful cardinals are gone, and my blue jays are going. I am going to build a avery around the bushes that the birds run to . We have a policeman in our backyard who is has the D&R watching our neighbor guy, for shooting his pellet gun at geese.( We have a pond in our backyard) The policeman said he would video tape us if we tried anything. Running out of options.

  24. Pam Begoske

    I take my feeders down in the Winter because I have 4 Yorkiepoo dogs that are 8 lb each and a hawk could carry one away. Unfortunately it did happen to my friend’s 12 lb dog. Now I am more aware and look in the sky when I am outside with them.

  25. Chris Augustine

    I live in the suburbs with a large feeding operation in a small yard. I’ve been feeding birds for almost 40 years. I did not start having a hawk problem until about 15 years ago; in the last 7 it 8 years, it has mushroomed exponentially. It is very frustrating. We have multiple daily kills. I had a Cooper’s in my garage the other day, lying in wait. The males are insane; they’ll dive right into bushes right after the birds like a word-class swimmer. We have planted lots of cover for the birds and other wildlife, as well as have put up a brushpile. In the winter, we also buy two or three live Christmas trees and place those strategically. They do help a lot. Instant cover! My husband props some up on stakes, so they’re just like a real, growing tree; and then some we lay on their sides, depending on what kind of cover we’re trying to offer. It’s not a perfect solution, but it does give the birds and animals at least a fighting chance (as someone else here said). They also provide windbreaks. Then, after Christmas, when our neighbors start putting them out at the curb for trash pickup, we nab a few more that way. The trees last just fine until the next fall. As they get older, the woodpeckers love them for their sap and insects. We also put up a couple owl boxes that at least some of them can use for shelter, plus we have regular nesting and roosting boxes up for both birds and squirrels. We also put the deterrents on the windows, although they still do hit them. They also hit the side of the house, side of the shed, etc. Then, somebody ends up injured, and the hawks patiently wait around, twiddling their thumbs, and get them later. The number of window crashes has decreased, though, since using the deterrents. Those are the measures we take. It’s a constant battle with the hawks, but they know very well they’re definitely NOT my favorites (not that they care; they’ll come right down and buzz my head as they come zooming by).

    • Concerned for Wildlife

      I agree with you Bob…we can’t choose our Wildlife….I feed ALL wildlife in my small backyard for 10 years now and have many visitors. The squirrels that eat all the birdfeed/treats from the birds and me mad! I am a constant bodyguard! But I have learned to accept it…because NO wildlife is worse!

    • Concerned for Wildlife

      Thanks Chris…great tips!

  26. Richard

    I have had trouble with hawks for about 6 months now. I have a bird feeder right near a back kitchen window so I can watch them when I have breakfast. Feeder isn’t too close to window and feeder is under a smaller tree offering cover. There are also low shrubs near feeder. This hawk sometimes hides in a higher shrub then pounces on feeding birds at this feeder. Some type of cover would be good but chicken wire may trap fleeing birds. Not sure what type of cover to use but I find everybody’s suggestions a good way to keep thinking and planning of how to take care of these great little birds who keep us company. What about artificial branches from a Christmas tree spread over and around feeder? May help??? Richard.

  27. Laurie Van Deusen

    Thank you everyone for your comments. I found some leftover reinforcement wire sections from my concrete flooring project(buy from wire/foam construction supplies businesses for the concrete trade, they’ll sell to the public) and have propped them against the bottom of my feeders making a teepee for one and more of an open ended 3′ high x 4’wide x 6′ long box around my other feeder. I can still reach up and over to fill feeders and can dismantle if I need to mow this summer etc. I think this will work!! the seed from the feeder drops through the 5″ square hole mesh, the birds are using it as a perch , my squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks can get in the open ends and all seem to be escaping ok. Haven’t seen if this gives my raccoon and skunk visitors a boost up to the feeders that are 7′ off the ground with the pipe guards. Keep you posted.

    • Maryanne Smith

      Would you be kind enough to share photos of your this? A Cooper’s Hawk is killing off my birds! I have tried many things but nothing has worked. Thank you

  28. Dawn K

    I have a pine Bush next to my front porch where I sit and watch my birds feed and water. There are average of 50-70 birds in the pine at any given time. Recently hawks have begun sitting in close trees on the property just waiting for the birds. Most often the hawks fly straight into the pine tree to snatch a bird. I’ve not had an issue of the hawks taking birds off the feeders.
    What scares me is how close the hawk comes to me. right up under the cover of the front porch. I’m afraid of them. Will a hawk attack a person?

  29. TheHawkInYourBackyard

    Sooooooo… This is a little awkward, and I wouldn’t like it if you stop feeding me. If you cut off my food source I’ll have to eat something else…

  30. Casey

    Good suggestions.I just Saw a huge peregrine Falcon swoop down and snatch one of the squirrels.I love all my rodents and birds,.,I love the Falcons and hawks too,but they need to learn to play nice.. Maybe I need to leave meat for them. But they don’t scavenge…..I’m perplexed….Any suggestions.
    ? I’m going to try a trellis or umbrella. Maybe just put seed on ground under the tables and chairs…

  31. LM

    Hawks are well protected and they multiply like there is no tomorrow. They look healthy, clean, strong. It feels like I live in a gigantic hawks farm. I believe that protection was necessary at one point but now it works the other way against all other birds. There are already few billion birds missing in US. Whatever is left not killed or harmed by humans the beautiful and well admired hawks will take care of. People admire wealth and power so they will admire and support automatically the raptors without noticing that other birds are enriching our life a lot more than the raptors. Other offices are demanding people to cut or eliminate the terrorist plants called “weeds” without taking into account how important those are for insects and birds. There’s a huge number of psychos using precise and powerful bb guns shooting with huge sadistic appetite whatever moves or flies. It is so sad that there is no force to counterbalance this damaging state of things and all we can do is to watch all those beautiful birds living in perpetual terror and fear. Their sounds are no longer happy but sad, or expressing fear, danger etc. Cannot tell you how often in a beautiful surrounding with trees, bushes, palm trees etc, there is a total sterile silence and lack of birds action because there are hungry hawks watching. To make that description more suggestive I must say that on top of all that sad mood there is a strong piercing noise of war jets flying above. Yes hawks also have to eat but it is not nature since the humans multiplied them beyond any acceptable number. I was very surprised and saddened to find out that ” Wildlife conservation” actually organizes hunting season bragging how well it went bringing business and profit and millions of birds were shot. All these beautiful animals are creatures like us, wanting to live their life with friends and family, they also have only one life. Happy to know you guys are doing your best to show to the birds friendship and support!!!

  32. Maryanne Smith

    I lost a blue jay and mourning dove to a Cooper’s hawk this week (that I know of). I have feeders on a deck elevated about 15 feet off the ground. Unfortunately, the hawk has taken to sitting on the railing to eat it’s kill. Just heartbreaking.

    I took down all my feeders today as well as their water. I am hoping the hawk will leave and I will try again. But, I need help figuring out how to make an enclosure or making the area safer for my birds.

    Please, if you have had success with creating some kind of protection for your birds, I would be very appreciative if you would share how.

  33. Hank

    I just finished reading all the comments and now I know that I am not alone. I have read all the suggested remedies but none seem to be a real “cure”. In my case, a wire cage or protective roof would not work. Birds panic at the site of danger and start to flee in all directions. When they flee the hawk focuses on one and chases after it until the bird tires and then gets caught. Here, the turtle- doves flee to their pine trees, but I have seen the hawk enter the tree branches. Most get out but the hawk comes out victorious with a dove in his beak.
    Before the large hawks (as big as turkeys) would only hover for cats and small mammals, but now it’s the smaller hawks who come after the birds. Apparently there is no clear solution. I noticed that they don’t like human presence, so I was thinking about creating a “scarecrow” and putting it in the middle of my yard. But then again, birds also don’t like human presence and they will not come near the feeder if a human is around.
    For some of us who hate cruelty of any type, there is no consolation. We just have to see the carnage and bear it. Birds are like us humans, and we humans are like animals—we all kill each other. But animals kill to survive, we kill for no practical reason but for power and greed, and hate. It’s a cruel world we live in. But in the long run, it feels good that we are doing something kind, and are making it easier for animals to get food. I feed birds, stray cats (to prevent them from eating the birds), and night possums, and raccoons, and an occasional skunk.
    Hopefully they have a way of thanking me and make me feel satisfied.

  34. Laurie Van Deusen

    Thank you, your hawk on feeder hanger(just like mine) brought a smile to my face, thankfully haven’t seen such a situation here. I have been using the ridged concrete reinforcement fencing lengths boxing in a 6′ sq area around two of my feeding stations and I’m having good luck, knock on wood. I love all of nature, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, you name it…I believe they all have a right to live where they choose. It’s usually us humans who plunk our “nests” in the middle and want only certain creatures to visit. I love hawks, vultures, eagles, mostly “my” sweet doves and little chickadees. Getting off my little soap box…try the fencing I mentioned.

    • Maryanne Smith

      Would you be kind enough to share photos of your enclosure? A Cooper’s Hawk is killing off my birds! I have tried many things but nothing has worked. Thank you

  35. Susan Norris

    I have four feeders hanging on trees or near bushes and two ground feeding stations and a flowing fountain for my backyard birds. Sadly the Grackles have taken up residence around the ground feeding stations and yesterday they killed a red finch right in front of me. The ground feeding stations are gone now.

  36. Richard D'Orlando

    I’ve listened to everybody and I have learned a few things from all you folks. I have stopped feeding the small sparrows and finches as well as those beautiful red cardinals and their light brown mates. Periodic feeding will help. Then, I plan to get some hog wire which has a plastic coating at Home Depot. I am going to make a square box with this wire. In the middle, there will be my feeder on it’s pole. The small birds can get in and eat. Hawks can’t fit and squares are big enough so Hawks will not get entangled in it. This “box” will be as high and wide as feeder and go to the ground. The problem will still be the small birds waiting their turn to go inside box to get some seeds. This is where the hawks will try to get them. I will then try to put an owl decoy in a nearby shrub to discourage hawks. I will also put shiny cd disks on windows and shrubs to help. Nothing is fool proof but I believe this will help. Have ONE SIDE of the wire box open as a door. Gives entry to and from feeder. USE Metal snap clips to lock and or, as hinges if needed. Thanks for listening. Richard In Nahant Ma.

    • Maryanne Smith

      Would you be kind enough to share photos of your enclosure? A Cooper’s Hawk is killing off my birds! I have tried many things but nothing has worked. Thank you

  37. Clover Meadows

    Thank You For All Of Your Help !!! I am so upset I have been feeding my birds all year long for about 2 & 1/2 years. All of a sudden I have been finding headless house sparrows for now days in a row. Probably have killed at least 5 for 3 days in a row. So I decided not to refill all of my bird feeders yesterday and today. I didnt have any new poor dead sparrows. So that’s good. However I suspected it may have been a hawk but wasn’t a hundred percent sure. Today early this morning I went outside checking my yard because this has been really bothering me. I found today a tale feather of a hawk today by my bird feeder that confirmed what I had suspected. I felt terrible here I am feeding these beautiful sweet birds only to have them be targeted? Obviously that was never my intention. I know it is the circle of life but that hawk or hawks can go hunt somewhere else. I already stopped feeding my birds for a while. Took down all of my feeders for now too. Trying to then come up with a relocation for them where they can be safe to feed at my feeders. I truly enjoyed all of my beautiful birds this is really sad that I have to stop feeding them so all of the house sparrows can not be targeted, attacked, and killed. It was so weird out of all the birds I feed both big and small they were only killing the poor house sparrows everytime. I sure hope this solves my problem. I have alot of chipmunks too not sure if any of them got taken away either. Any suggestions on how I can protect all of my birds so I can feed them without worrying ? I’m so upset .

    • Dee Kelly

      That sounds like an owl- the hawk feathers may be from an owl attacking the hawk. I was told they are natural enemies.

  38. bryan

    I’ve lost three birds in the last early June. Our feeder is down and will remain down for three weeks. In the meantime I strategically place seed under bushes and toss it into their nesting bushes on our slope. Guess what? No dead birds… And some seed for the local rabbits. These birds aren’t here for our entertainment – it’s not a priority. The hawks were also here before us and, like any animal (including us), will go for the easiest meals it can to bring food back to its young. The people in this thread that complain about laws protecting hawks, and wish to destroy hawks as it is only acting on instinct, as designed by the creator (if you choose to see it), so that it and its young may live, is immensely wrong. This line of thinking is a cancer. Us and our wants has destroyed enough ecosystems on this planet, and in this ecosystem is these birds we feed along with the hawk. So if you have an issue with a hawk doing what they do, what they were designed to do, don’t be so greedy and think instead… Put up your feeders until your arrive at a solution that can keep your birds safe while also respecting the hawk. I grew sick and tired of reading these people’s posts about ‘dumb laws’, ‘killing hawks’, and ‘hawks biting the dust’, because they are ruining YOUR amusement. Put the feeders up and find something else to do for a while and the hawk will leave. If kill a hawk you should be fined and jailed in my opinion – good riddance to you.

  39. bryan

    Last thing I forgot to say: they are NOT YOUR birds to begin with. They aren’t your property. They aren’t your pets. They aren’t your things.

  40. chris

    Thanks for stopping by to mansplain the natural world to us, bryan.

  41. Kathy

    Cooper Hawks can find food sources everywhere. My yard doesn’t have to be one of those sources. Everyone who wants them in their yard should go out of their way to attract them so they can “observe them at doing the natural thing they do, kill ” ! I
    I can’t even stand the sound of them, much less see them sitting in wait, to attack all the beautiful birds that I love to see and hear. We live on 2 1/2 acres of land and I know there are 4 of them that are here on a regular basis. I usually put suet in one tree in my back yard.
    That is the only place I feed the birds. I never see the hawks out back. They wait in the huge trees out front to kill anything that runs, hops, crawls or flies by and it is not something that I enjoy. If they ever attempted to swoop down on my dog, I wouldn’t hesitate to destroy them. She is more important to me than a screeching predator that only lives to kill, eat and have more offspring that will do the same! They have worn out their welcome. That happened years ago when after seeing one for the first time in my yard brought my attention to them. Not knowing what it was, I thought it was cool. Now that I know better…….I should have done something then. I was close enough to get a picture of it. It was actually probably deciding whether I was too big to carry away and eat !!

  42. Michael in Texas

    Had three hawks stake out my place over the past week and decimated the birds that visit the feeders. I understand its nature but it was disturbed anyway. Go a lot of good ideas from this blog. Thanks all.

  43. Bev

    I’m getting a roof put on a pole to go behind feeders as a cover. See if that helps. A falcon flew in landed under feeder no birds got caught . Took them down wait for roof type cover fingers crossed.

  44. Sally Marie

    I love Hawks. We love the little birds and the ground feeders. We have a feeder on the balcony and all the sudden the birds are not showing so I guess we maybe have a hawk flying around. We live in the woods and a condo. I think we are going to try to put some kind of little umbrella up over the feeder after we take it down for a couple days has people are advising. I’ve never seen such a Long blog. Thank you

  45. Maureen

    I came outside yesterday, was in my phone, and practically walked into a red tailed hawk tearing a squirrel apart. This hawk stood as tall as my knees. And the crazy part was it didn’t move an inch. It stood there staring at me and then continue to tear the squirrel apart. I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. Eventually it flew to the top of my grandsons swingset where an unsuspecting squirrel was coming down the ladder. At this point I took out my hose and put it on jet and scared it off. Interesting, it flew about five houses down on top of an outdoor antenna and then all of a sudden there were dozens of larger birds flying around it, screeching and Diving at it. I looked it up and it said this is called mobbing, done by other birds to protect either its nest or its young. Several times last week I went out back to see a bunch of feathers and assumed the next door neighbor’s cat did it but since there was nobody now I know it was the hawk. All of my feeders are under the low branches of a tree where I thought they were safe. I do not put seed on the ground but the little birds spill a lot of it. As a result I have a flock of pigeons that visit daily to get this seed. I am sure they were part of the group of birds chasing the hawk. I have been feeding the birds for over a year now. I am disabled and have a lot of stress in my life and being able to sit out back and watch the birds has given me a sense of peace. Now I am petrified because I have five dogs, two of who are 5 lb Chihuahuas. One of my cats used to go out but now I keep it locked in my bedroom so that it can’t get out the door. I too would appreciate seeing some pictures of the enclosures at some of the other writers have written about. I will plant shrubs but can’t do that until spring. I love the idea of collecting Christmas trees after Christmas and plan to do that. I don’t know a lot about the overabundance of hawks. I did see one a couple of weeks ago and it had moved feeders that were in a small tree for finches but it was too out in the open so I moved them under my next door neighbor’s pine tree that hangs over my property. I have no desire to kill a hawk however if it were to attack one of my dog’s I wouldn’t think twice of beating it with a bat. The hawk wasn’t the least bit afraid of me and I found that to be very telling since every other bird will take off when the human approaches. I love all the birds and even rescued a pigeon who had injured its beak. I understand both sides of this but seeing that Hawk tear that squirrel apart, a squirrel that might very well have been the one that comes up on my deck and takes the nuts from my hand. That hurts me to the Core and I was upset all night. I also have had Blue Jays come everyday for the nuts and have loved sitting there watching. Now I put out nuts but only directly under the tree which is blocked off with a large ladder. I was happy to see that the Blue Jays saw where the nuts where and they were able to get them. If it kills another one I will have to take the feeders down for a while but that breaks my heart since I know many of the birds that come here daily have built their nest nearby because they had a Dependable feeding Source here.

  46. CJ Mazakas

    Just watched a hawk try to snag a dove. They started flying but I don’t know if they got away. That’s what made check out this page.
    P.S. Why is RD so cranky?

  47. Catherine Welsh

    I am so glad I came here and read these comments.

    I don’t feel so alone now in how I feel when I become an unwilling witness to these hunts/kills of my beautiful birds, squirrels, etc.

    Thanks everyone 🙂

    • Sheila K

      just this morning I noticed a lot of feathers scattered about in my backyard. I’m pretty sure it’s the hawk that I chased off yesterday. It’s so heartbreaking and I think the bird was one of the 20 or so European collard doves that frequent our feeders. I’ve been feeding many birds, beneath our rose arbor on the ground and in 3 tube feeders that hang from it. Lots of Juncoes, Gold Finches, sparrows all have felt safe until now. So I will buy a couple of owl decoys from Walmart, and Lowes who have them for about 10-13 dollars.
      Also, I’ll stop the ground feeding, and try to place birdseed under a huge Rhody bush which will hopefully provide cover. Also, I think we have an old patio umbrella that I could put over an old patio table I use to feed the doves. I sure hope this helps as I’m home bound and love watching these beautiful little creatures try to survive our cold winters. I’ll report back in a week or 2, let you know if any of these strategies work.
      Blessings to all you bird lovers!

  48. Linda

    We have seen a hawk off and on around our yard and sometimes even on our porch railing. A couple of weeks ago I saw him sitting on the railing which is close to our feeder. He sat there for a minute or two then flew into the evergreen what is by the railing and out flew a bunch of sparrows with the hawk hot on their trail. Since that happened, we have had days where no birds are at the feeder. It’s like the fear is ever present and they want no part of it. I haven’t seen the hawk since that day. Any suggestions to get the birds back?

  49. Ash

    I too, struggle with Hawks at my feeding areas (mainly Sharp Skinned and Coopers). I have large evergreens with boughs to the ground, so I put seeds around the bases of two trees in the front, and in the yard, I have large shrubbery and Junipers that look like big balls. I’ve had some success back there by moving a large-planked bench right up against one of the lines of shrubs and I throw seeds underneath the bench. The birds have visibility through the slim slats and eat under the bench but they can quickly slip back into the bushes if danger approaches. I have caught various hawks actually perching on the back of the bench but I go out and yell and wave my arms and they fly away. Sometimes I have to do this a few times to get them to leave the area completely. There have been periods where the birds disappear or are scarce for two weeks if a hawk is persistently hunting in the neighbourhood. They do come back eventually though, and the hawk gives up. You just have to wait it out. I taper off feeding in the springtime because there’s more food sources available for them in the warm months. I think hawks are beautiful and I know they have to eat too, I just don’t want it done in my territory. Every winter I question my decision to put out seeds because I hate the grief of guarding and potentially losing a few birds. I try to give them a fighting chance though, by providing coverage and places to hide.

    • Margo

      I am in the same boat as Ash, and all the other people here… it’s upsetting but it does help to realize I’m not the only one who feels so sad to see “my” blue jays etc. killed by hawks. And I do understand that the hawks have to eat too, and they ARE beautiful of course and part of nature, but I kind of feel like I’m setting a trap for the smaller birds, like I’m getting lunch ready for the hawk! I have my feeders on an old garden swing with branches all over it to perch on and to discourage the hawk (s?) from swooping down and grabbing birds, but when the hawk comes the blue jays panic and go flying away and that is often when the hawk gets them. It really is heart-breaking to see, even though I try not to feel that way I can’t help it! Just now 2 jays banged into my window (unusual, because I have decals on the outside to prevent this) in their panic to get away from the hawk. I’ve been here about 19 years and never had this problem, well, maybe a handful of times I’ve seen a hawk catch a blue jay at my feeder, over all these years.
      I don’t want to stop feeding the birds but now I’m thinking I might have to, for maybe a couple of weeks or so (?) and see if the hawk goes elsewhere. Strange that the hawk seems to only go for blue jays, maybe because they fly away from the feeder. The mourning doves, wood peckers etc. don’t seem to be bothered by the hawk. The Cornell University bird site says blue jays mate for life…oh dear…that makes it seem sadder when one gets killed!
      It certainly does not make for relaxing kitchen work, when I keep looking out the window for hawks and worry about the jays!! My barn cats are both old now and live inside, so finally I don’t worry about cats but now I worry about hawks… groan…

  50. Roger

    I have not read through all the above posts, so this may constitute a repetition – but that said and for what it is worth, I have employed an old abandoned parrot cage out of which the bottom had dropped so I replaced this with a sheet of plywood and suspended three small feeders inside. The vertical wires of the cage have been slightly bent aside to allow access by mainly tits of many varieties (mainly blues but also long tailed which latter seem to absolutely love it). On the strength of this, I searched for more such cages on ebay and discovered new canary, parakeet etc, cages that I believe come in flat packs which are under £30 delivered, 35.8″ x 18.7″ x 14.2″ so plenty of room for for three RSPB large peanut feeders although naturally, the wires will have to be adapted or some removed to allow access.
    In addition, I am in the process of building an aviary with a two inch mesh surround which will be added protection from sparrow hawks whilst allowing access for woodpeckers and for the ground feeding birds and which will allow the all to choose which direction to take out of the area, hopefully less influenced by the panic engendered by the hawk. A year or two ago, one sparrowhawk arrived, sat upon the cage and studied it for a minute or maybe more before departing and apart from a juvenile that kept crashing into the side of the cage I have not noticed many hawks since.
    Caged bird cages make for almost complete shelter for the feeders and their guests – I recommend the idea.

  51. Manon Hetu

    I want to say thank you for all your comments. Since november we have an hungry hawk in our backyard. So sad : blood, feathers, death birds. We do our best to protect the birds from him. But he hawk wins! Very sad! I read your comments and they help me. Thanks. My English is not perfect I hope you understand me.

    • Marcia

      blue jays are a pest also, they’ll destroy other nests and eat the eggs, or baby birds.Crows are another pest that do the same. I also have hawks wish they would eat the squirrels, we seem to have way to many.

  52. Charlie

    I went to this website to get some useful information after a hawk hust took a beautiful cardinal from my yard. I was so disgusted by the ignorant comments posted on your website that I will look elsewhere for intelligent help.

  53. ksan

    The circle of life…it is everywhere!

  54. Lyn M

    Great thread here, I love the compassion for the diminishing small bird population. Yeah, I am not at all happy with birds of prey attacking small birds and creatures in our yard.
    My ideas, I have used tomato cages around feeders. Right now ground frozen can’t stick them in but can lay by the foot of fly thru feeder pole system. They birds perch very momentarily on the wires and enjoy that, but they don’t sit. And the wires prevent larger predator wings from hit and run.
    Also, wire hanging baskets, the ones with coated wire that you put coconut mats in. I got a bunch cheap and hang them from cedar ball branches under which have a ground screen feeder.
    And, from a shepherds hook I hang two of these baskets in succession and put seed directly under.
    Husband has another idea to create a large wire umbrella over the fly thru. I ‘ll post again with that.
    At our cabin we created a pvc pipe feeder surrounded by 2 by3 green cage wire, so squirrels can’t get in, but it gives the chickadees and nuthatches time to choose their seed then take off, and momentarily land on the wire coming in or leaving.

  55. Lyn M

    The tomato cage idea and hanging wire planter ideas I thought of this morning after reading this thread, and after a second falcon kill in a week.
    I set up tomato cages in a bunch right under and around feeders and it looks great, see through, and best of all the birds love it, they land all over them and very random fly ins and outs. We’ll get coloured cages in spring it will look amazing and artsy. The hanging baskets are also amazing hung under the cedar cluster/ball. Birds landing all over. You can see them more than if they land in the branches, but the wire in these will interrupt the wingspan of predators.
    Idea for everyone too, if you run out to scare crow a predator bird, take a long stick or branch and hold it out, birds dislike beak like things. Yell a crow like mean ‘caw’ .

    I will post again in a few days update if any more predators. It’s very snowy these days so everyone is hungry. A great active thread i’ll book mark it !

  56. Lyn M

    Tomato cages are working around base of feeder poles, several days no sightings til today, and a falcon glided down from a nearby spruce and glided over the general feeding area and flew away. It may have been eyeing the wires and not seeing a clear nabbing area. Hurray

  57. Snaith

    During the past fifty years we have been proud to have 16 to 20 white doves and fantail pigeons. These have reduced in the last few weeks. Today there were none to feed, so I looked in the ‘loft’ and soon saw the reason why. Two sparrow hawks have taken up residence-

  58. To get rid of hawks, it helps to have American Akitas around – they will keep predatory bird of prey away while the smaller birds seem to ignore the dogs and the dogs ignore them. At 135 LBS an American Akita is a a canine samurai and hawks, coyotes, foxes, cats and other predatory species don’t dare come around. Failing that you chase off Hawks with drones. There are plenty of mice and moles and rabbits in the world but Hawks like all predators generally prefer easy prey and few things are easier then doves or other birds feeding. All of my birds have access to low spreading trees and dense bushes and i cover the feeder areas to prevent a line of site to any hawk. Hawks typically are not afraid of people but if you have hawks do not let toy dogs or kittens outside. While hawks are formidable predators, they don’t weight much and are not match for guard dog breed bred to defend shoguns from ninja assassins and hunt big game such as bears. I hate seeing hawks take small birds, but then I hate seeing squirrels get hit by cars. In reality, unless you have a whole flock of hawks on your property, a coupe of feral cats will do much more damage than a few hawks, Ultimately, nature can be and often is cruel. We all have our favorite squirrels and chipmunks and birds and none of us want to see them harmed.

  59. E.

    I have found it to be fairly effective to use what I called “Anti-Aircraft” strategy. (My definition.) ** I came up with these plans after losing three birds four winters ago. I have lost only two birds since, as far as I know. ** I am doing my best, that is all that I know. Perhaps one of these ideas may help you or someone you know. ** I place the bird food under tightly packed /planted evergreen trees and two bushes, primarily on the ground. ** I then use tall, square and round/cone shaped tomato cages placed close enough to each other, that a hawk cannot get his wings through the spacing between them, however, most of the other birds can fit through. ** I place tall heavy metal hanging plant poles between trees, augmenting the tomato cages. ** I have chased away one to three hawks (at a time), away from trees and telephone wires around my small yard. ** I go over and using my old “lifeguard voice” tell them to leave, “Hawk, leave,” while pointing and using direct, unwavering eye contact, while moving around, back and forth. It may seem a bit silly, but it has worked. ** At the same time,I have also on two occasions picked up a heavy stick and started hitting the tree trunk with it. They didn’t seem to like it and left for a more friendly, accommodating hunting location. ** A couple of additional times, I had a telescoping (in length) snow brush (pole about 4 feet long) that I twirled and swung around, and then pointed at them. It got their attention. ** I decided to try an additional tactic recently. Using my cell phone, I searched YouTube for videos of squirrels and birds sounding the alarm that a predator was near. ** I found a loud one and went outside, headed across the street, toward where a hawk was partially hidden, perched and waiting to “pounce.” ** I started sounding the “YouTube Video alarm” to warn a black squirrel and a couple of birds under the trees. ** I could hear birds and squirrels starting their own alarms. The hawk took off after a few minutes. ** When the birds and squirrels see me coming outside, they start to let others know that there may be food or water on its way. ** I feel responsible for trying to protect them since I am the reason that they are coming into the yard and becoming vulnerable as they become more focused on the food or water. ** One additional thought, kindness to wildlife as with pets, is often carried over to kindness to our fellow human beings . . . .

  60. Eric

    If you want the hawks to stop eating the birds, then simply give them something else to eat.

    Just like a 20 pound bag of bird seed from Kroger only costs $6.00, a 3 pound pack of hot dogs from Walmart only costs $3.22.

    Extremely simple, to the point that my crows have actually starting eating directly alongside the hawk and the squirrels even play fight with it.

  61. Marcia Wilburn

    blue jays are a pest also, they’ll destroy other nests and eat the eggs, or baby birds.Crows are another pest that do the same.

  62. Tracy

    Sad way to look at it!

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