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How to Attract Hawks in Your Backyard

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The thought of trying to attract hawks to your yard may seem bizarre to some people. Hawks are predators that prey on innocent animals. Why would anyone want them on their backyard?

Hawks are more than predators.

Yes, on many occasions, they’ll prey on the innocent, unsuspecting animals on your yard. However, they also maintain a balance by eating nuisance wildlife like snakes.

Hawks are even more fascinating to bad watchers. These wild birds are exhilarating to watch because they exhibit unique characteristics.

If you’re a bird watcher, attracting this bird to your backyard will be an enviable achievement. But how do you attract this bird to your yard? Let’s find out.

hawk landing on post

Plant Tall and Sturdy Trees

One of the fastest ways to attract hawks to your backyard is by providing an area for roosting. Trees are perfect for this.

They provide a place for the bird to sit and watch their prey. Furthermore, they can hide from other birds with ease. Not to mention, hawks rest on trees as they wait for their food to be digested.

If you’re lucky, the hawk will even build a nest on your trees. This makes it the perfect set up to watch the bird. If you don’t have trees, try to set up an area the bird can perch.

Sheds, decks, and fences are excellent for this.

Keep Your Yard in Tip-Top Condition

Providing food is also a sure way of attracting hawks to your backyard. However, you need to ensure it’s easy for the bird to spot the food from as far as possible. To do this, ensure your yard is well-tended at all times.

The grass should be mowed to a reasonably short height. Furthermore, you should ensure there are no areas were rodents and other critters can hide.

Place the food in an area the hawk will be confident to fly down and take. It shouldn’t be too close to where you intend to watch the bird from because any sudden movements or noises may scare the bird away.

We have several hawks in our neighborhood and saw this guy hanging out on a neighbor’s fence post.

hawk on fence post

Provide a Reliable Source of Water

Similar to other types of birds, hawks enjoy a reliable source of water. They need water to cool off and rehydrate. Therefore, if you strategically place a water bath on your backyard, you’ll attract these birds sooner or later.

However, be careful about how you set up the water bath. Placing it too close to the window may make the bird crash into the window – you don’t want that! The best way to do it is to:

  • Place the water baths 3 to 30 feet away from the window. This distance prevents the light from the window from reflecting the image of the sky. As a result, the bird becomes aware that the window is part of the house and is less likely to crash into it.
  • Ensure there’s plenty of water: You want the bird to stay on your yard for a long time. If they fly to the water bath and the water isn’t enough, chances are they’ll fly away quite fast.

Note: If you leave close to a large water body, you don’t need to set up water baths for the hawks because they’ll get enough from the water source.

Don’t Scare the Bird Away

Hawks are attracted to small animals on your yard. That’s how they get their fill of the day. If you’ve not set up food for them on your yard and you have pets, they’ll still be attracted to the unsuspecting “food.” When this happens, your first instinct will be to “shoo” the bird away to protect your pet.

If your goal is to attract hawks to your yard for bird watching, resist the temptation. It may hurt to watch an innocent animal becoming food for the bird but it will help your efforts in the long run. You see, shooing the bird away will only scare them and they may not come back. Instead, focus on protecting the animals the next time and setting up food for the bird.

Avoid Using Traps

If you have rodents and insects on your backyard, you may be tempted to use insecticides and rodenticides to get rid of them. But this isn’t a good idea if your goal is to attract hawks to your backyard. You see, because hawks are attracted to these pests, having them on your hard will attract the bird.

Besides, the harmful chemicals will only poison the “food,” which may kill the bird. It may seem counterproductive at first, but if you manage to get the bird on your backyard, you won’t have to worry about rodents and insects because the bird of prey will take care of the problem.

Keep Your Backyard Natural

Hawks also love a natural environment. They like to hide behind shrubs and will often spend more time in areas where they don’t feel threatened. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure your backyard is as natural as possible. There are several things you can do to make sure of this. These include:

  • Avoid playing loud music that may scare the bird away.
  • Remove any objects that may scare the bird away from your backyard.
  • Use natural landscaping methods.
  • Use natural fertilizers.

Attract Smaller Birds

You have a better chance of attracting hawks to your yard if you have plenty of food for them to feed on. It’s not enough to assume the bird will be attracted to the rodents and insects on your yard. You need to be intentional in providing even more food. A fast way to do this is to set up bird feeders in designated areas of your backyard. You can hang them on fences and other quiet areas.

Keep the feeders well-stocked with bird seeds at all times. Small birds will be attracted to the food. The hawks, on the other hand, will have a field day when they notice all the available food.

Don’t Clear Dead Trees and Bushes

While it’s crucial to keep your backyard in tip-top condition to ensure hawks can spot food, you shouldn’t go overboard. As we’ve mentioned, hawks prefer the environment to be as natural as possible. Leaving dead trees and bushes on your yard when it’s safe to do so provides natural perches for the birds.

When you’re manicuring your backyard, don’t overdo it either. Remember, the goal is to keep the environment as natural as possible.

Protect Your Pets

It may seem counterproductive to eliminate the hawks’ source of food. However, if you’ve set up the bird feeders and you can spot rodents on your backyard, there’s no need to put your pets at risk. When you’re trying to attract hawks to your backyard, keep all your pets out of sight. This way, they’ll be out of the way and in no danger of being picked up by the hawks.

However, you don’t have to worry about this if you have big dogs. Hawks only prey on small animals like rabbits, kittens, and other smaller animals.

Hawks are among the most fascinating birds to watch. They have unique characteristics and they’ll leave you with an interesting story to tell the next time you’re hanging out with your avid bird-watching friends. Not to mention, they help you ensure your yard is free of nuisance rodents and insects.

However, getting them on your yard is the hard part. Nonetheless, with the simple tricks we’ve provided in this article, you should be able to attract this bird to your yard. But practice patience because it may not happen overnight.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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    1. Hi Gabe, thanks for your comment. I’m not sure about scratching on the ground but it may be exhibiting “mantling” behavior.

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