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With their extraordinary vision, razor-sharp talons, and ability to reach speeds over 100 mph when they dive for prey, hawks are one of the most efficient predators in the animal kingdom. The scourge of songbirds and small rodents, hawks find themselves the top predators in most of their environments.
However, even these birds of prey arenʻt completely safe in their habitats, especially when they are young or still in their eggs. Adult hawks might not attract the attention of a lot of predators but there are still a few who will make a meal out of the birds if given the chance. Here are 8 predators that hunt and eat hawks.
Eagles are one of the most common natural enemies of hawks. The two bird of prey species are often locked in competition for food and nesting sites. Eagles are generally bigger than hawks and wonʻt hesitate to kill one if necessary. They will hunt them simply for food as well, with the added bonus of literally killing off the competition!
Raccoons are omnivores who will eat almost anything they can easily get their paws on. Opportunistic feeders, their diet will primarily consist of whatever is readily available in their environment. Raccoons generally wonʻt bother adult hawks unless they are sick or injured. However, they will feast on hawk eggs and young hawks if given the chance.
Young hawks in their nests may fall victim to any species of snake that can climb trees with ease. Tree climbing snakes will also consume hawk eggs. Again, snakes usually wonʻt bother adult hawks and theyʻre much more likely to be the prey in this scenario.
While wolves generally feed on mammals like deer and rabbits, they arenʻt above eating young hawks or injured adult hawks. This is especially true in the leaner winter months when prey is scarce for all creatures.
Red foxes donʻt rely on hawks as their primary food source but, like wolves, they will attack and eat young or injured hawks if given the chance. Foxes are found in a variety of environments and could rely more on birds like hawks for food depending on what else is available to them.
Many owl species, such as the great horned owl, rely on young hawks as an important food source. Owls and hawks are also in competition for the same food supply and often nesting sites as well. The two species will frequently attack and fight each other, much like hawks and eagles.
Because they are found in such wildly different environments, coyotes are omnivores who will eat an extraordinary variety of plant and animal foods to survive. Hawks may find themselves on this list, especially if they are young or hurt. Coyotes will also dine on dead hawks if they come across them.
Smaller hawks often find themselves preyed on by larger hawk species. Hawks are territorial birds and will often fight among themselves. You might also see hawks scavenging the carcass of another dead hawk. The desire for food certainly overpowers any species kinship that hawks might feel towards each other.
Now that you know what predators eat hawks what do hawks themselves eat? We know that hawks are highly effective hunters but what are the most common creatures they set their sights on? Here are just a few:
A hawk soaring in flight is a magnificent sight. They might be near the top of the food chain but as weʻve learned, hawks arenʻt entirely out of the woods when it comes to becoming prey themselves. Even larger animals like mountain lions will eat hawks if they happen to surprise one on the ground. Unfortunately, humans once counted among the hawksʻ predators as well but all birds of prey are now protected under federal law. So hawks shouldnʻt have anything to fear from us but these other 8 predators might keep them on their guard!
Featured Image Credit: Loneship, Pixabay
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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