Hawks are birds of prey with distinct behavioral adaptations. Characteristically, they might live a solitary life or with a mate. They have sharp eyesight to locate prey, no matter the distance. Also, they are expert hunters who kill with their talons.
Occasionally, you might notice several hawks perching on the roof or tree branches at home. But regardless of keeping away from humans, they will still be attracted to your backyard for many reasons.
Here are the most common reasons you might observe hawks in your home.
Why are Hawks Hanging Around My House?
The main reason hawks will hang around your house is because of prey. They feed on small rodents, snakes, birds, frogs, reptiles, and other tiny mammals. Also, a perfect nesting spot around your home might attract these territorial birds in large numbers.
Hawks will occasionally perch, roost, and build nests on top of tall trees in your home. With a lack of trees, they will still roost or sleep on top of electricity poles and hang around abandoned buildings.
Also, it would be best to note that hawks have a position on the food chain that keeps them away from most predators you might find at home. So, they will choose to stay in your backyard because of safety. Owls, eagles, and crows are the most common hawk predators.
The other reason you might notice tens or even hundreds of hawks in your home is the seasonal migration or breeding cycle. Like most bird species, hawks migrate thousands of miles to find better food and nesting grounds.
Hence, you might find a few on your house’s roof, trees, and electricity poles, resting or sleeping. Luckily, these hawks will only rest for a few hours before continuing their journey to a different location.
Do Hawks Stay in the Same Area?
Yes. Hawks stay in the same area, especially if that location offers favorable living conditions. The other thing to note is that hawks are territorial birds and might live in one locality during the breeding season. They might live for a year or more, raising their young hawks.
However, not all hawks stay in the same area. A few species, like the northern goshawk, the ferruginous hawk, and the rough-legged hawk, will move around over a long distance from one location to another in search of food or mates. The rough-legged hawk, in this case, breeds in the Arctic tundra in summer but will move to the southern states in winter. These hawks might travel more than 100 miles daily to reach their destination.
Usually, hawks will stay in one location for a long time if there is abundant prey. In the wild, most hawks feed on small mammals like squirrels and chipmunks living deep inside the forest.
Why Do Hawks Stay in the Same Area?
Hawks will stay in the same area because they are territorial birds, and that is the main reason. Also, they will not relocate to a different location if the current location offers everything they need to survive. Usually, it includes food, shelter/nesting area, and water.
During the breeding season, hawks will defend their territories and nests until younger hawks can survive on their own. Moreover, they choose an area with no potential predators to give their young ones a chance to survive.
During the day, hawks will hunt for small rodents in the wild but come back to their home. So, you might notice several hawks returning to their shelters in the evening.
Lastly, hawks can adapt to the environmental conditions of a particular area, thus, staying without moving. Some hawks are adapted to the cold and will hardly relocate to warmer regions. This phenomenon will also apply to those adapted to warmer climates.
How Long do Hawks Stay in One Area?
Hawks will stay in one particular area depending on a few factors. These commonly include food, shelter, water, and season. Furthermore, the season and specie also determine how long a hawk stays in a particular area.
Hawks might stay in one area, like a specific forest or bush, if food is in plenty and there are few predators. Migratory hawks, however, live in the same area for a few weeks or months before continuing their journey.
According to research, the red-tailed hawk is a large resident bird that often stays in a particular area for several years without relocating. It flies around searching for food but returns to its nest after a few hours. On the contrary, most broad-winged hawks are migratory birds that travel long distances when the weather changes or during the breeding season.
Typically, the duration by which a hawk can stay in one area ranges between a few weeks to several months. Favorable conditions determine the length of stay.
What Attracts Hawks to Your House?
Food sources, shelter, water, and nesting are the few common reasons that attract hawks to your house. However, understanding how they behave might be more challenging than you think. Occasionally, you might observe hundreds of hawks perched on the trees before suddenly disappearing.
Food source: You might notice several hawks living around your house if food is abundant. These birds usually feed on snakes, rodents, birds, squirrels, and other small mammals. So, hawks will prey on any of these animals at home.
Shelter: During bad weather, especially winter, hawks will seek refuge in abandoned buildings or trees near your house. These birds will also hide from snow, heavy rain, or strong winds.
Water: Like all animals, hawks also need water to survive. So, they might be attracted to your house if there are reliable water sources nearby. It could be ponds, lakes, or streams.
Nesting: Most bird species live in nests. Hawks will also look for an ideal location to build their nests. At home, they might build nests on top of trees, old structures, abandoned buildings, or electricity poles.
It would be best to deal with all the above mentioned factors effectively if you are concerned about the growing number of hawks in your compound.
What To Do If You Have a Hawk in Your Yard?
First, you should note that hawks are protected by federal wildlife laws. So, it is illegal to kill, harm, or disturb them without authorization. Most homeowners contact local wildlife agencies to relocate hawks safely and address the issue.
But you can take a few other safe steps to deal with hawks in your yard.
Hawks are important predators because they feed on snakes and other small reptiles that might be dangerous to humans or pets. Unfortunately, they can also be a threat to small pets, poultry, or humans while defending their nests. Therefore, you must know how to deal with them appropriately.
The first step would be to keep your pets safe; this applies to hamsters, kittens, birds, rabbits, and other small mammals. Remember that hawks prey on small mammals; hence, they can swiftly attack and kill your pets for food.
Next, observe the hawk for a few hours from a safe distance to tell if it is resting or hunting. A resting hawk will leave alone, whereas a hunting hawk will stay longer to find food.
You might have to remove all potential food sources like bird feeders and garbage cans if the hawk does not leave alone. Dealing with the food sources will discourage more hawks from visiting your compound. In this case, the hawk in your backyard will eventually fly away to a different location if it does not find food.
Follow these three steps to avoid attracting more hawks after a few days.
- Deal with all potential nesting spots. These will include pruning tall trees & bushes, removing abandoned structures, and removing bird feeders to discourage more hawks from building nests.
- Place large decoys or reflective features strategically in your compound to scare other hawks.
- Adopt a large animal like a guard dog, raccoon, or protective rooster to discourage hawks in your compound.
As seen earlier, you might have to call the wildlife service if all the steps discussed do not help to keep hawks away.
Pro Safety Tip:
- Never threaten or corner a hawk because they are aggressive birds, and might attack you.
- Hawks have sharp talons and beaks. So, always take the necessary safety precautions when handling them.
- Always keep kids safe.
Hawks are essential birds in the ecosystem. Some species live in one area throughout their lives while others occasionally migrate to other destinations. You might notice a few hawks skulking on top of trees or near abandoned buildings at home.
So, it would be best to address the issue if you notice a severe hawk invasion. Use safe techniques like adopting a dog or using life-like decoys to repel any hawk that wants to build a nest near your homestead.
This article has looked at why hawks hang around your compound and all the effective methods you can use to drive them away.