do hawks eat squirrels

Do Hawks Eat Squirrels? An Interesting Peek Into a Hawk’s Diet

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There’s a lot of debate over the question: do hawks eat squirrels? Some bird enthusiasts believe that hawks mainly eat rodents. Others believe that hawks will go after any small animal they can get their talons on.

So what’s the truth?

Are hawks the primary predators of squirrels, or are they just one of many animals that prey on them? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the evidence and see what conclusions we can draw.

Do Hawks Eat Squirrels?

Most people think of hawks as being predators of small rodents like squirrels, but in fact, the vast majority of hawks do not actively hunt these animals. Instead, they prefer to feast on larger prey, such as rabbits or snakes.

However, there are a few species of hawks, such as Cooper’s hawk, that will target small animals like squirrels. These birds are known for their quick and precise hunting skills, and they can often be seen chasing their prey through the trees.

While squirrels certainly don’t make up the bulk of a hawk’s diet, they are certainly on the menu for some members of this raptor family.

What Kind Of Hawks Eat Squirrels?

The term ‘hawk’ generally refers to any of the various medium to large-sized predatory birds found around the world. Consequently, there are different species of hawk that feast on squirrels as part of their regular diet.

In North America, the most common type of hawks that will eat squirrels include Cooper’s hawk, the sharp-shinned hawk, and the red-tailed hawk.

A medium-sized bird of prey, the Cooper’s hawk is particularly skilled at hunting squirrels, often working in teams to flush them out of hiding before swooping in for the kill.

Meanwhile, the sharp-shinned hawk is a smaller bird, but it makes up for its size with its speed and agility, making it another effective hunter of squirrels.

Lastly, the red-tailed hawk, one of the largest hawks found in North America,  has a particular taste for squirrels, which often form a substantial part of its diet.

While these are some of the most common examples, there are many other species of hawk that will also regularly eat squirrels as part of their natural diet.

Do Hawks Hunt Squirrels?

Hawks are known to hunt a variety of small animals, including squirrels. While the type of squirrel will vary depending on the region, hawks typically target young, weak, or sickly squirrels.

In some cases, however, adult hawks have been known to kill healthy squirrels. There are several reasons why a hawk may hunt a squirrel.

First, squirrels are a good source of food for hawks. They are relatively easy to catch and provide a good amount of protein. Second, hawks may view squirrels as competition for food.

By reducing the number of squirrels in an area, hawks can increase their chances of survival. Finally, hawks may simply enjoy the challenge of hunting squirrels.

Regardless of the reason, it is clear that hawks do hunt squirrels on occasion.

Do Hawks Eat Dead Or Alive Squirrels?

While hawks will eat both dead and alive squirrels, they typically prefer to hunt live prey. This is because live prey is easier to capture and provides more nutrients than carcasses. Hawks use their powerful talons to grip and kill their prey, and they will also consume the fur, flesh, and organs of their victims.

In addition to fresh meat, hawks will also eat carrion or decaying flesh. While this may not provide as many nutrients as live prey, it is still a valuable food source for these birds of prey.

Long story short? Hawks are skilled hunters that use their keen eyesight and flying abilities to find and capture their prey. Thanks to these adaptations, hawks can survive on a diet of squirrels, both dead and alive.


Hawks are predators that typically hunt larger prey, such as rabbits or snakes. However, there are a few species of hawk, such as Cooper’s hawk, that will target small animals like squirrels.

While squirrels aren’t the main meal for every hawk in this raptor family, they are definitely on the menu for some individuals. Their excellent eyesight and flight capabilities allow them to subsist on a squirrel diet, which includes not just squirrels but also rats and mice.

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