Raptors are also known as Birds of Prey. the most common groups of raptors seen are owls, hawks, eagles, vultures, osprey, and falcons.
Their hunting hours vary by species. Some hunt at night (nocturnal), some hunt at dawn and dusk(crepuscular), and some hunt only during daylight hours (diurnal).
All raptors are meat eaters. Diets vary from rodents or fish to insects or birds.
These birds are often admired but for some pet owners or bird lovers, they are considered a threat.
Ways to Discourage
- Keeping pets safe: Most raptors are not interested in your pets. If you have a very tiny dog or allow a cat to go outside, you should be mindful of raptors in your area. If you hear an owl at night or see a hawk perched close by, you should not allow small pets out off leash. It is very rare that a raptor will grab a cat or tiny canine, but it is not impossible. They will not bother if you are attached. If you have a pet bird, aviary, or rabbit hutch, they are at greater risk. It is important to make sure that they are enclosed in their cage when outside. They must be able to hide in one area of the cage for safety. Even if a raptor can’t catch them, you still want to avoid injury through the cage bars.
- Bird feeders: There are two species of raptor that prefer birds. If you have a bird feeder and notice a small to medium sized hawk coming around and perching in your tree, they are hunting at the feeder. If you are concerned that there are raptors hunting at your feeder, we recommend taking it down for a month and then try putting it out to see if they have moved on. If they come back, you may have to enjoy bird watching away from your home. There may be years when they are not present, but if there is a feeder, they may re-populate again.
- Small children: Raptors do not have any interest in babies or small children. They are very protective parents. So, if a child is playing under a tree where they have a nest, they may fly by close to the child to warn that they are too close. They are not interested in harming them. They are simply protecting their own babies. Keeping children away from the area when any birds are nesting, is always the best way to co-exist with wildlife.
- It is illegal to shoot a raptor even with a pellet. You can try fans, sprinklers, or blowing streamers but it is important not to use any deterrent that also frightens your birds or pets.
Birds of Prey do not want to tangle with something larger than them and don’t want to work too hard for a meal. Being aware of their presence and taking preventative measures is the best way to enjoy them and keep other animals safe.