Do Hawks Eat Vegetables? Their Varying Diet!

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A hawk’s diet consists of a variety of foods, such as mammals, birds, rodents, and even reptiles, but what about the other food groups? More specifically, do hawks eat vegetables?

Short answer? No. Hawks are carnivorous birds of prey, which means that their diet consists primarily of meat. Now, this doesn’t mean that they won’t necessarily nibble on a berry should they ever face starvation. 

However, it’s rare that you’d ever see a hawk seek out vegetables.

Here are a few fun facts about why hawks don’t eat vegetables, as well as info on some of the things they do eat.

Hawks Can’t Digest Vegetables

So…what’s the deal with hawks not eating their greens? 

Well, for starters, a hawk’s physiology makes it hard for them to digest plant proteins. There’s also the fact that a hawk’s metabolic rate is so high that they need a lot of food in order to maintain their energy levels.

Since meat is more calorie-dense than vegetables, it just makes sense for hawks to seek it out. 

What Do Hawks Eat In The Wild?

In short, hawks will eat whatever they can find. In the wild, where prey items are plentiful and more diverse, they’ll come across things such as mammals, snakes, turtles, and reptiles. Hawks also eat many insects including dragonflies, grasshoppers, moths, prawns, and crayfish.

You can also bet that hares, rabbits, lagomorphs, rodents, and gophers are on the menu.

What Does Hawk Eat In The City?

Urban expansion and growth are forcing more hawks into city spaces. As such, hawks adapt their hunting techniques to local food sources, such as squirrels, rats, mice, birds, reptiles, crabs, and bats. Hawks have been known to pounce on small dogs and cats — anything they can pick up.

What Do Baby Hawks Eat?

Unlike mature hawks, baby hawks can’t fend for themselves, so they eat only what their parents feed them. 

A baby hawk’s diet typically consists of smaller creatures like crabs, carp, catfish, lizards, and bugs, however, this varies based on the availability of larger prey in its region.

Baby hawks may also eat food regurgitated by their moms, depending on their age.

What Does Hawk Eat In The Winter?

When the weather begins to get cold, many of the same foods that were accessible throughout the summer months go into hibernation, migrate elsewhere, or become hidden under snow and ice.

This means hawks are mostly restricted to small Winter-dwelling rodents such as vole and carrion.

Do Hawks Eat Snakes?

Hawks routinely consume amphibians and reptiles, including snakes, for dinner. Usually, hunt snakes in uninhabited regions with the best perspective of the ground-dwelling creatures. Snakes are not the only animals pursued by these hawks; they also capture small rodents and aquatic species like crabs and crayfish.

Do Hawks Eat Owls?

Typically, hawks do not target owls in order to feed, as owls are also fierce predators. 

If you see a hawk and owl in conflict, then it’s because an owl has ventured too near to a hawk’s nest. In the animal kingdom, disagreements between birds of prey are extremely unusual.

Do Hawks Eat Birds?

Yes, hawks — particularly those in the Accipiter family–  eat birds. Robins, hummingbirds, and songbirds are just a few of the small birds that hawks have been known to hunt.

Because accipiters target birds as big as grouse and as little as songbirds, robins, and hummingbirds, suburban backyards with bird feeders are becoming attractive hunting locations for them.

How To Attract Hawks To Your Backyard

If you’re a bird enthusiast, the last thing you may want to do is attract hawks into your backyard — especially if you have small cats and dogs, which hawks have been known to attack. 

However, there are some benefits to attracting hawks to your garden, starting with the fact that their rodent-rich diet makes them an excellent vehicle for natural pest control.

In some cases, they can also help keep the local raccoon population in check.

If you feel that these perks outweigh any risks, here’s how to attract them to your backyard.  First, you must provide adequate space for them to nest and hunt. 

They like tall trees with sturdy branches for scanning prey and perching. 

You should also set out plenty of nuts and seeds — but not for the meat-eating hawks! These treats will attract rodents and insects, which hawks love. 

Finally, though you may be conflicted about this tip: hawks love bird feeders because they attract more birds into the area. Conversely, now you know to be vigilant about guarding your feeders against these predators! 

Whichever path you choose, just know nature will keep things in balance. 

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