If you are fortunate enough to live in an area with geese, you may worry about any natural predators that may threaten their existence. Particularly, you may wonder: do hawks eat geese?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Hawks eat and hunt geese.
Hawks are actually so adept at hunting geese that humans have implored their skills as a means to hunt geese as well. Called falconry — sometimes hawking — this practice requires a permitted person to release a hawk next to a flock of geese and allow nature to take its course.
Once the hawk is in the air, the hunter gives a signal and the hawk swoops down and grabs the goose in its claws. The hawk then carries the goose back to the hunter, who then kills it and prepares it for eating.
While not all hawks are trained to hunt geese, many are capable of taking down these large birds if given the opportunity.
Will Geese Scare Off Hawks?
Hawks may hunt geese, but they don’t necessarily go down without a fight. Geese are aggressive birds that will readily defend themselves (and other animals) against hawk attacks — especially if young are present.
Hawks also, typically, shy away from larger birds like geese, but they will definitely initiate an attack if they feel they can take one down without too much of a fight.
Large geese, or large flocks of geese, pose a significantly better chance of scaring off a lone hawk. A flock of hawks, however, may be another story.
Do Hawks Eat Goslings?
While hawks typically eat the smaller prey, they are known to attack and kill goslings on occasion. Goslings are particularly vulnerable to predation when they are first born, as they are not yet able to fly and lack the protective coloring of their parents. As a result, they are often easy targets for birds of prey.
Hawks will typically eat whatever prey is most easily available, so their diet can vary depending on the time of year and location. In some areas, goslings may make up a significant portion of a hawk’s diet during the spring months. However, in other areas, hawks may only rarely target goslings.
Ultimately, whether or not hawks eat goslings depends on a variety of factors.
Do Hawks Eat Goose Eggs?
Yes, hawks do eat goose eggs. In fact, they will eat just about any type of bird egg if given the chance. Hawks are predators, and their sharp talons and beaks give them the ability to kill and eat a wide variety of animals.
While they typically prefer to prey on small mammals and reptiles, they will also opportunistically eat bird eggs when they come across a nest. This is especially true if the hawks are young and still learning to hunt.
Goose eggs are large and nutritious, making them an appealing target for hawks. As a result, goose parents must be vigilant in protecting their nests from these avian predators.
Other Geese Predators
It is also possible that other predators, such as snakes or foxes, might attack a goose or two. There are several creatures out there that would like to make a meal of a goose, so you will need to take precautions to keep your flock safe from predators.
Here are some of the most perilous goose predator species you will encounter in the wild:
Coyotes are clever, bloodthirsty hunters that enjoy geese. They prefer to hunt under the cover of nightfall when they are sure no one is around.
Because they do not run in packs, spotting them might be difficult.
In recent years, coyotes have become increasingly common in the outskirts of towns and cities every year, making them a continual source of worry for goose and chicken owners.
Foxes are clever predators that absolutely will attack geese. They may not go after the largest birds on your property, but they will try to steal one if it is older, younger, or if it is not paying attention.
Foxes are surprisingly strong for their size and very quiet, so you could easily walk past them without knowing it.
The opossums are nocturnal animals that can turn nasty when given the chance. When given the opportunity, opossums will attack geese. Unlikely as it may seem, opossums kill a significant number of geese every year.
Some dogs have a greater hunting instinct than others. That is why specific breeds are utilized by hunters to go duck hunting and so on. If you are not looking, you could lose a goose thanks to your dog’s bloodlust.
It is especially dangerous if it is a dog you can not control, such as one from a neighbor or a lost stray that comes around looking for something to maul.
Another huge predator lurking in the area is the bobcat, which is on the lookout for geese.
These animals are efficient killers that can effortlessly take down a large goose. They have been known to kill deer on rare occasions as well.
The good news is that most suburban geese owners will never have to worry about encountering a bobcat. They are more likely to avoid crowded areas. However, if you live on a farm or live outside of town, keep an eye out for any bobcats near your geese or chickens.
Yes, snapping turtles! Geese adore being around water, and if you live in an area where snapping turtles abound, one of them may be eaten by them if they become too complacent while drinking or swimming in a pond.
Their jaws are quite powerful and will rapidly break bones, making your goose’s chance of escape or resistance extremely low once the jaws come clamping down. Think of them as mini-dinosaurs — scary!