Do Hawks Eat Squirrels? A Complete Information Guide

As you probably know, hawks are carnivorous birds that are fond of munching upon other small animals such as songbirds, rats, mice, insects, and lizards. Do you know they have very sharp eyesight that helps them further in preying upon the animals? 

 The hawks prey upon a pretty wide range of animals. But, do they prey upon squirrels? Is there really anything called “a hawk-eating squirrel”? Well, that is quite an intriguing question, right? 

A majority of the hawks love to feed upon squirrels but a particular bird species prefer squirrels the most in their meal. This species is called the red-tailed hawk. Through their small, narrow eyes, they can see clearly and they are quite expert at viewing their prey from the top and then crash down on it. Their intensive search for food improves their chances of having a sumptuous meal. 

Come on, let’s have a deeper look into the habits of the red-tailed hawk along with the method by which it tries to kill the squirrels. 

What Kind Of Hawks Eat Squirrels?

Specifically, red-tailed hawks eat squirrels. They have a large body with small eyes and are diurnal birds of prey. 

A red-tailed hawk loves to feed on gray squirrels. You will be amazed to know that hawks actually have about 8 times better eyesight than humans. Starting from mice, rats, rabbits to squirrels, hawks scavenge upon all these small animals.

Hawk eating a squirrel


In fact, hawks are also fond of snakes, rodents, insects, birds, lizards, and practically any animal upon which their eyes fall upon. Funnily enough, certain hawks such as the bald eagle and osprey will even snack upon fish. 

Hawks usually have a tendency to fly away with prey that has a weight either equal to or less than its own body weight. Since a squirrel weighs somewhat around 1 kg, any hawk larger than that may lift it easily. 

How Do Hawks Hunt Squirrels?

Hawks have three general hunting styles: Perch, glide, and dodge hunting. All these three styles are followed while hunting all the animals, and the squirrels are no exception. 

In perch hunting, the hawk ‘perches’ or sits on the branch of a tree. It waits there patiently and keeps a careful watch over the small animals roaming in that area. They wittily wait for the prey to come within the striking range. Then, they fly down and attack the target. A hawk’s majority of the hunting sessions are conducted by the perch hunting style. 

Glide hunting style brings the hawks sheer success, especially when they are hunting some other small birds. The hawk glides above before targeting a suitable prey, and then it dives down to kill it. 

A hawk and a squirrel

Now, let’s have a look at what dodge hunting style is about! In this style, the hawk weaves between the thick foliage and ignores the branches to prepare for a super-strong landing with a strengthful killing blow. Do you know that this is the most effective hunting style to kill insects and small birds? 

The hawks stoop down to prey upon the squirrels only if they think they can get away after carrying the weight of the squirrels with them. 

Will A Red Shoulder Hawk Eat A Squirrel?

Red-shouldered hawks belong to the group of Buteos that imply soaring hawks. They have broad, flappy wings and tails that look like a fan. The bird is named so because of the reddish-brown feathers that are present on the upper wings of its body. This gives its shoulders a reddish look, and thus the name “Red-shouldered hawks”. 

Red Shoulder Hawk-Hawks eating squirrel

Squirrels and rabbits are favorite things that a red-shouldered hawk would like to have as its food. Besides, they also hunt down frogs, toads, snakes, insects, birds (specifically, a bird that has a smaller size than itself), and so on. The hawk sometimes uses its talons to get hold of the prey and kill it. Then, it uses its beaks to tear the game apart. This is all about the hunting activity of every red-shouldered hawk. 

Do check out our article about Rabbits eating tomatoes

How Do You Keep Hawks Away From Squirrels?

  • Placing a scarecrow or a fearful owl statue will scare the hawks and thus protect the squirrels living in that area. 
  • Keep some reflective objects outside in your backyard or the area where you think the hawks frequently visit. You may hang a CD, camera lens, or mirror from the tree branch. It has been seen that, in many instances, the hawks fly back as they get scared of seeing their reflection in the reflective items. 
  • Prune the tall trees that are located in an area decrease the chances of the hawk attacking a squirrel. Usually, the hawks begin with their hunting process by sitting on the tree branches. Then, it keeps a strict watch all across the surrounding area. Once it spots the squirrel, it flung down and attacks it. 

So, if you cut down the trees, there will be no chance of the hawks to prey upon the creatures. 

  • If you install any bird audio clip in the yard or garden, the hawks will be frightened as they will think that some other predator is in the area. In this way, you can repel the hawks away. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do hawks eat squirrels and robins?

Hawks do eat squirrels and robins. 

Can a hawk pick up a squirrel?

A hawk can pick up a small squirrel as it will have a lesser body weight as compared to its own. 

Do hawks eat dogs? 

Hawks are opportunistic creatures, so they usually don’t leave out any kind of animals from their food menu. And yes, dogs too are on their list, and they don’t spare the chance of missing them out anytime. 

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!