Do Hawks Eat Pigeons? Why, When, and How Often?

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In some circles, pigeons are considered “rats with wings.” And just as rats are not usually welcomed stock (due to the many diseases they carry), they don’t want pigeons in their immediate vicinity. However, some people love pigeons and want to do everything they can to protect them. If you fall into the second category, you may wonder: do hawks eat pigeons?

Short answer? Yes. However, in this blog post, we will take a closer look at why hawks prey on pigeons and what factors come into play when determining whether or not they will be successful in doing so. 

Do Pigeon Hawks Eat Pigeons?

Pigeon hawks, known also as Merlins, aren’t actually hawks; they’re falcons, close hawk relatives. They’re known for their ability to take down larger prey — especially pigeons, which they target as a primary food source. (After all, they are called pigeon hawks.)  

While these birds typically eat smaller prey, such as rodents and insects, they are capable of taking down a full-grown pigeon. Pigeon hawks are typically found in open woodlands and fields, but they will also venture into urban areas in search of food.

Pigeon hawks use their sharp talons and beak to kill their prey before consuming it. While these hawks typically hunt alone, they will sometimes form small hunting parties to take down larger prey. In addition to pigeons,  pigeon hawks will also consume other birds, reptiles, and small mammals.

How Often Do Hawks Eat Pigeons?

Hawks typically hunt for food every day, and a single hawk can eat up to four pigeons per day. In areas where there is an abundance of pigeons, hawks may eat several times a day, while in other areas they may only eat once every few days. Given this diet, it is not surprising that farmers and (some bird enthusiasts) see hawks as pests.

However, some people believe that hawks play an important role in controlling the population of pigeons. Without hawks,  pigeons could quickly overrun many urban areas.

Whether you view them as pests or predators, there is no doubt that hawks are skilled hunters and their diet of pigeons is an important part of their ecology.

Do Hawks Eat Pigeon Eggs?

Hawks are predators, and therefore their diet consists mostly of other animals. Smaller hawks may eat insects, while larger ones primarily hunt rodents, rabbits, and snakes.

Some hawks will also eat birds, including pigeons. Some species of hawks particularly favor pigeon eggs as a food source. The eggs are small and easy to swallow, and they provide a good source of protein and fat.

While pigeon eggs are not the only food that hawks eat, they form an important part of their diet. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see hawks preying on pigeons or raiding their nests in search of eggs.

Do Hawks Eat Dead Pigeons?

As any bird lover knows, there are a variety of different species of hawks. But what do these predators eat? While hawks will hunt and eat a wide range of animals, from rodents to snakes, they are perhaps best known for their fondness for pigeons.

In urban areas, people view pigeons as pests, so there’s no love lost when they see a hawk swoop down and snatch one up. But what happens to the pigeon after it’s been caught? As it turns out, not all hawks will eat their prey immediately.

In some cases, the hawk will store the pigeon in a tree or on a ledge, returning to it later when hunger strikes. This behavior, known as cache hoarding, is thought to help the hawk survive lean times when food is scarce. So next time you see a hawk soaring through the sky, you may want to keep your pigeon friends close by. 

Conclusion

Hawks are predators that typically eat smaller prey, such as rodents and insects. However, they are also capable of taking down a full-grown pigeon. Hawks kill their prey using their sharp talons and beak before eating them. Other birds, reptiles, and smaller animals may also be eaten by hawks.

The question of whether hawks eat pigeons is challenging to answer, since it is determined by a variety of criteria, including the size of the hawk and food availability. In general, hawks hunt for food daily, and a single hawk can consume up to four pigeons per day.

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