We all know that small-sized birds are at the top of hawk’s food preferences. But have you ever wondered if this giant bird is interested in hummingbirds, the smallest bird in the world? Do hawks eat hummingbirds?
Actually, the answer is not as simple as yes or no. Hummingbirds are like tennis-sized balls. For a 3-pound Red-Tailed hawk, this amount is not sufficient at all. So hawks are smart enough to ignore these tinies that are more than 100 times smaller than them.
But we can’t assure that exception doesn’t happen. During extreme food scarcity, when there are no options, hawks may hunt and eat hummingbirds. Sometimes, young hawks may go for hummingbirds.
In the rest of the article, I’ve explained whether hawks eat hummingbirds or not, why hawks don’t prefer hummingbirds, do hawks attack hummingbirds’ nests, and why hawks and hummingbirds live close together. Exciting, right?
So without adding further ado, let’s explore deep down to this exciting topic.
Do Hawks Eat Hummingbirds?
If you have an interest in the most dominating bird hawk’s diet, you must know that small-sized birds are at the top of the hawk’s diet. But what about the smallest bird, the hummingbird? Are hawks even interested in such tiny birds?
To get this point well, let’s have a look at the average size of these birds.
We all know that Hummingbirds are the smallest birds, and that’s what they are well-known for. The average weight of an adult hummer is around 4 grams. Bee hummingbirds are the smallest bird in the world. Their average weight is less than 2 grams. That’s why most of the time, they are mistaken as bees.
On the contrary, hawks are among the largest bird species. They can be around 3 pounds on average.
See, hummingbirds are 100 times smaller than hawks. So, they are not enough to satisfy a hawk’s appetite. It is a waste for hawks to spend time, energy, and effort on hummingbirds. Instead, hawks would prefer something that can satisfy their appetite and give them energy for a long time.
But all these don’t mean that hawks would never eat hummingbirds. There are few records of hawks hunting and eating hummingbirds. It is not a daily scene. So we can’t add hawks to hummingbirds’ predator list.
So when this exception happens?
When Hawks Eat Hummingbirds?
Sometimes when there is a scarcity of food, particularly in winter, if a hummingbird comes across a starving hawk, it may go into the hawk’s beak.
Sharp-shinned hawk, the smallest specie of hawk, hunts small birds. Sometimes it can include hummingbirds as well.
Baby hawks stay 6-7 weeks with their parents after hatching. After this period, they need to leave the nest and arrange their food for themselves. It becomes quite tough for these inapt hunters to prey. Sometimes, they even die of starvation. In such situations, young hawks can hunt and eat hummingbirds.
Moreover, we can’t guarantee a hawk’s mood. If it wants, it can just grab a hummer and swallow it at once.
Do Hawks Attack Hummingbird’s Nests?
Surprisingly no. In fact, two-thirds of the time, hummingbird nests are found near hawks. So, is it just a coincidence or planned?
Let’s break down this mystery.
Though the hummingbird has a tiny body, it got a sharp brain. They realized that because of their size, they are most vulnerable to many predators. So if they built a nest anywhere, their chances of survival would lessen. Anyone can just come and hunt them easily.
So as they are not on the hawk’s preferred prey list, they started building their nest near hawks. Because of the hawk’s presence, no predator dares to come to them. Besides, if any predator steps in, they go into the hawk’s diet.
Interesting fact: Hummingbirds’ predators, for instance, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, jays, crows, snacks, lizards, bats, and rats, all are hawk’s preferred prey.
So when any of these hunters come to feast on Hummingbirds, they actually become hunted. And that’s why some say that hawks are hummingbirds’ best friends.
A tennis ball-sized Hummingbird is not enough to satisfy a hawk’s appetite. So for a hawk, it doesn’t worth spending energy and time to hunt a hummer.
However, sometimes hawks eat hummingbirds. This rare incident occurs when there doesn’t have enough prey, or the hawk is young and inapt to hunt other larger prey. Occasionally, small species of hawks, like the sharp-shinned hawk, can hunt and eat hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds build their nest near that of the hawks because they know that hawks won’t attack them. Besides, hawks will also help them to survive by eating all their hunters, like other birds, squirrels, chipmunks, jays, crows, snacks, lizards, bats, and rats.