Hawks typically eat small birds like doves, bluejays, or bugs. Here the question arises can hawks hunt something similar in size to them, like crows? Do hawks eat crows?
Hawks eat crows sometimes. As crows are smart and agile birds, and they mostly fly in flocks, it’s really hard for a hawk to catch an adult one. However, they will happily eat chick or baby crows and eggs. As scavengers, they will also eat dead crows.
In the rest of the article, I’ve discussed in detail when hawks prey on crows, do they eat a crow’s chick and eggs, what happens when a crow and hawk encounter, what are other crow predators and much more. So stay tuned till the end to explore the diet of one of the most powerful and skilled hunters!
Do Hawks Hunt Crows?
Before determining whether hawks eat crow or not, let’s have a closer look at the size of these birds. It can help one learn whether it’s possible for a hawk to hunt a crow, as hawks can’t prey on something bigger than them.
Depending on the species, both the crow and hawk’s sizes differ.
The American crow is the largest crow spice which can be 17-21 inches in length on average. On the contrary, the smallest crow specie is Jackdaw or Corvus Monedula, which can be 38-45 centimeters in length on average.
Among over 200 hawk species Ferruginous hawk is the largest. They can be 20-25 inches in length, while the smallest hawk specie, Sharp-Shinned hawks, can be 10-14 inches on average.
So crows are within reach of hawks. Hawks can hunt crows.
A Red-Tailed or Ferruginous hawk has the strength and sharp talons to reach out and attack a crow.
But the fact is crows are not in hawk’s regular diet. Indeed crows are intelligent and agile birds. Whenever they see any threatening predator, they scream out to gather the flock.
So it becomes a tough catch for a hawk. But it’s not impossible. When hawks are hungry, or there’s a scarcity of food, they will definitely go for crow. Moreover, occasionally hawks have been seen hunting and eating crows.
Crow Vs Hawk Encounter
Have you ever witnessed a hawk and crow encounter? What happens when these two meet? Let’s see!
As the size of hawks and crows are almost the same, hawks usually don’t attack a healthy adult crow at first until it is dead hungry. However, if there is a scarcity of preferred prey, hawks can go for an adult crow. If it’s a single crow, then it won’t be a tough pick for a hawk.
Though attacking a crow is not a daily occurrence, they are often seen attacking crow’s nest and eating their nestlings and eggs.
After birth, chicks stay in the nest for the next 30 days. Their parents bring them food until they become strong and learn to fly well. At this time, chicks are weak and helpless.
Hawks take this opportunity and enjoy easy prey. They wait far away from the nest for the adult crows to go for food. As soon as they find the nest unprotected, they swoop down on the immature crows and carry the prey elsewhere to enjoy.
For this reason, crows always take hawks as the biggest threat. Whenever they see any hawk near their nest, they scream out loud to seek help from other crows. Because they know one of them can’t win a battle with such a large hunter.
Then they gang up to nibble and scare off the hawk or other large predators like eagles and owls. In such a situation, the hawk backs off and leaves the scene as soon as possible.
Though most of the time, crows just do this to defend themselves, in some cases, they have been seen even killing the hawk. But it’s not a usual occurrence.
Do Hawks Eat Crow’s Eggs?
Eggs are on the preferred diet list of hawks. So do hawks eat crow’s eggs as well?
Of course, whenever hawks find any unprotected eggs, they will definitely eat them. It doesn’t matter whose egg it is.
Usually, crows nest in high trees with more branches and leaves so that they don’t catch the eye of any predator. But it’s hard to deceive the eye of a hawk. Ultimately hawks find them with their sharp eyesight.
When hawks find any crow nest, they keep an eye there, maintaining a safe distance. As soon as adult crows go for food, they swoop down and eat the eggs. Only large hawk species can eat crow eggs as it is relatively big.
Do Hawks Eat Dead Crows?
Hawk are both scavengers and opportunities. If there’s a ready-made fest of dead animals, they will surely take advantage of it, doesn’t matter whose meat it is. But crows are not on hawk’s favorite list, so will they also go for it?
Actually, adult hawks usually prefer live prey. But if it is hungry or there’s a scarcity of food, and there’s a dead crow right in front, the hawk will surely go for it.
Besides, dead animals are ready-made meals. So it’s obvious that any scavengers will take advantage of it.
What Are Other Predators Of Crows?
Crows are intelligent and agile birds. They are also good at hunting. But sometimes, this hunter becomes hunted. There’s quite a long list of crow’s enemies.
Here is a list of the most common crow predators:
Hawks eat crows once in a while. Crows are not on their preferred diet list of them.
Crows are intelligent and agile birds. Whenever they see any threatening predator, they scream out to gather the flock. In such situations, a hawk needs to back off. So crows are not easy prey for hawks.
But whenever hawks find any unprotected crow eggs, they will definitely eat them. As scavengers, they sometimes even eat dead crows.