Hawks prey on small rodents, birds and other animas,l and can become territorial. If your property has become part of their "territory" there are steps you can take to prevent and minimise any damage they might do to poultry, songbirds or other small animals. While hawks and owls are protected under federal law and may not be killed, you can get rid of hawks by taking actions to make your property less attractive to the raptors.
House your poultry in coops or houses. Free-range chickens, ducks and pigeons attract hawks. According to the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, a partnership of several university extension services, many problems can be eliminated by simply housing poultry at night. Create fenced enclosures covered with poultry wire, nylon netting or overhead wires. A double layer of overhead netting separated by a 5-to 6-inch space may be needed to keep hawks away from penned birds, according to ICWDM.
Remove vertical poles and other perching sites within 100 yards of your property. If poles or trees cannot be removed attach inverted spikes or top poles with sheet metal cones so hawks cannot roost.
Take down your bird feeders temporarily. According to Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology, hawks may stake out birdfeeders as sources of easy prey. Remove the feeder until small birds and doves disperse. After several weeks, replace the feeder and the small birds should return, while the hawks should have moved on to new hunting grounds.
Frighten off hawks by firing shotgun shells into the air (away from the hawks). This is the easiest and most effective way of scaring off hawks, according to ICWDM. Pyrotechnics and electronic shocking devices are more expensive frightening techniques property owners can use.
Get a trapping permit, called a "depradation" permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. If all other efforts fail, obtain a permit to trap and relocate the hawks. Hire a person experienced in trapping and handling wild birds to remove the hawk. A permit to shoot the hawk may also be issued in cases where nonlethal methods are unsuccessful or impractical and the birds pose a danger to public health and safety or seriously affect an individual's livelihood.
The red-tailed hawk is the most common raptor across North America, according to ICWDM. Their diets include so many rodents that it may be more beneficial to leave them in place.
Tips and warnings
- The red-tailed hawk is the most common raptor across North America, according to ICWDM. Their diets include so many rodents that it may be more beneficial to leave them in place.