There are different types of hawks (such as red-tailed hawk, northern goshawk and Harris’ hawk) and they are basically a smaller sized eagle. The interesting thing to note is that hawks of all ages and all regions have one major thing in common, they are all meat eaters. Of course, the baby hawks can’t eat things as big as the adults can, but they can eat the same types of things. For instance, the baby hawks can eat lizards, snakes, and all types of insects. These same foods can be eaten by the adults. Most animals don’t have infants that are eating meat, but hawks do.
Hawk eating a pigeon. © Phil Plait.
So what else can these birds eat?
The truth is that if it is a meat-based product then the hawk will be able to eat it. This means that hawks can eat things that are dead and things that are alive. It doesn’t matter if the hawk killed it or simply found it dead, they will eat it. This means that if need be, these birds can be very effective scavengers.
How do these birds catch their prey?
Well, not only do the hawks have the ability to fly, but they can move very fast through the sky. They are able to attack a creature and grab it in their sharp talons. These talons have a fierce grip and are very unlikely to let go. Add to this the devastating beak of the bird and you have two majorly sharp and potent weapons. Even the baby hawk has these formidable weapons.
What are the specific animals they actually consume?
A red-tailed Hawk eating a snake. © Mongo.
Well, these birds are most likely to eat eat small animals such as rodents, fish and even other birds, as some are avivores. It is not unusual for them to catch moles, mice, or even rats, but again it is usually meat they are after because they are carnivores. What is often strange or surprising to some people is that these animals can, if need be, catch larger prey.
Catching a bigger prey
It is has been noted that hawks can sometimes go after things that are actually bigger than they are. Small dogs and raccoons are but one example. If you live in an area with lots of hawks and have a small pet, then it is probably a good idea to keep them under close watch as a hawk may just decide to make a meal out of them. They are fast, however, and can swoop down at blinding speed, so perhaps the best strategy is to simply keep these small pets you may have indoors where there is no danger from a hungry hawk stealing them. If that is difficult to imagine, do realize that it is not uncommon at all.
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