Hawks are predators who survive by hunting and eating different types of animals. As such, you may be wondering: do hawks eat beavers as well? Short answer? Yes.
While hawks typically avoid large prey, they will occasionally eat beavers.
Beaver populations are threatened by several factors other than predation, including disease and habitat loss. But hawks definitely play a part in their population dynamic.
Consequently, it is important to understand the role that predators like hawks play in beaver population dynamics. Hawks typically hunt during the day, using their sharp eyesight to spot potential prey from a distance. When they see a beaver, they will swoop down and grab it with their talons.
Once they have killed the beaver, they will carry it off to a secluded spot to eat it. Because of their size, hawks usually only eat the head and backstrap of the beaver, leaving the rest of the carcass behind.
While hawks certainly contribute to beaver mortality rates, they are not the primary predator of these animals. In North America, the beaver’s top two predators are coyotes and bobcats. Consequently, efforts to reduce predation on beavers should focus on these two species.
What Type Of Hawk Eats Beavers?
The beaver is a large, semi-aquatic rodent that builds dams and lodges out of sticks and mud. While most hawks avoid wetland habitats, there is one hawk that has developed a taste for beavers: the goshawk hawk.
These powerful birds use their sharp talons to grip onto their struggling prey before delivering a fatal blow with their beak. Thanks to their hunting prowess, northern goshawks play an important role in controlling beaver populations.
Do Hawks Hunt Beavers?
Typically, hawks hunt smaller prey items like rodents and birds; however, they are capable of taking down larger prey items. To give themselves the best advantage, they perch in a tree or on a high vantage point and scan the area for potential prey.
When they spot something, they will swoop down and grab it with their talons. Because beavers are large animals, that are fairly slow on land, they’re an easy target for hawks who scope out wetlands.
That being said, the beaver’s large size also acts as a deterrent.
Plus, beavers spend a lot of time in the water, which makes them especially vulnerable to attack from predators like hawks. S0 while the majority of hawks do not typically hunt beavers, they’ll definitely take advantage if desperate.
Can Hawks Pick Up Beavers?
Only certain species are capable of carrying beavers, with the most common being the North American goshawk. Other hawks that can carry beavers include the great horned owl and the eagle.
Typically, hawks catch beavers by surprise, swooping down on them from above and grabbing them with their talons. The hapless beaver is then carried off to the hawk’s nest, where it becomes dinner for the young hawks.
While it is certainly an impressive feat, it is important to remember that not all hawks are able to carry beavers. So if you see a hawk carrying a beaver, you can be sure that it is one of the few species that have this amazing ability.
Do Hawks Eat Dead Beavers?
Generally, hawks prefer live prey, but they will definitely scavenge if given the opportunity. Therefore, you can rightly assume that, if a hawk will eat a live beaver, it will certainly eat a dead beaver.
In most cases, these beavers were already killed by another predator or had died of natural causes. So, if you come across a dead beaver, it is best to leave it where you found it and not approach the carcass, as hawks may view you as a threat to their food source.
Other Beaver Predators
As stated above, hawks are far from a beaver’s only predator. Others include things such as coyotes, red foxes, and brown bears. Here are a few facts about beaver predators.
Coyotes resemble grey wolves, although they are somewhat smaller. They have excellent eyesight and a strong sense of smell. Coyotes can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour when chasing down prey.
They travel in a group during the fall and winter months to do more effective hunting. Coyotes are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal material, though 90% of their meals are meat-based.
The Canidae family includes red foxes. They are found throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. The term “fox” is used in regions of Europe where no other species of this sort still exists. Their fur is reddish-brown in appearance and appears rusted because of oxidation.
Brown bears are most frequently encountered in northern Eurasia and North America. They are sometimes known as grizzly bears in North America. Alaska and the northern regions of the continent account for 95 percent of the brown bear population in the United States.