Do Hawks Eat Owls? Or is it the Owl Who Preys?

You must have seen hawks preying on small birds like doves, starlings or pigeons. But have you ever wondered whether a hawk could attack an owl when most of the time, it’s bigger, stronger and faster than a hawk? Do hawks eat owls? Well, today, I’ve come up with some research to answer all these questions.

Hawks can eat owls sometimes, but it would be any young, injured, weak or old owl. Adult owls have acute eyesight and hearing sense and sharply curved beak and talons. So owl is the last name a hawk will want to mess with. However, because of the territory, hawks can attack owls, even though this is a rare sight.

In today’s article, I will clear out everything about whether hawks eat owls or attack an owl’s nest and eat its baby. And in a hawk and owl encounter, who becomes prey? Let’s dive in.

How Do Hawks Eat Owls? (Answered In Detail)

The hawks are intelligent. They always choose preys that are small and easy to catch, like rodents, small to medium-sized birds, reptiles or snacks.

They will never go after such prey that has a strong defense and can cause bad injury to them.

So you will never see any hawk attacking a strong adult owl for food. Because they know that owls are extremely strong and fast. With owls’ sharp talons and beaks, they can tear anything apart.

But sometimes hawks are found eating owl’s flesh. So let’s see when you can see such a rare occurrence:

  1. The hawks are opportunists. If there is any injured, weak or old owl, hawks will take advantage of it.
  1. Owlets are not strong enough to fight back. So, when there’s any unprotected owl nest with owlets, hawks will likely jump on and enjoy easy prey.
  1. Sometimes, owls attack hawk nests to eat eggs and chicks. In such a situation, the hawk has no choice but to fight with the owl to death. In most cases, the owl wins the battle. But on exception, the hawk, along with its chicks, will eat that owl’s flesh.
  1. If there’s extreme food scarcity and in order to survive, hawks don’t have any option without encountering an owl. In such conditions, hawks can go against their hunting habit and gang up to prey on an owl. It’s a once-in-a-blue-moon moment.

Do Hawks Eat Owl’s Baby?

It’s pretty common to hear defame about hawks that they have jumped on other birds’ nests and eaten their eggs, hatchling and young. So will hawks even dare to attack an owl’s nest and eat its babies?

If there’s a healthy adult owl in the nest, no predator will dare to step in. And the hawks are no exception.

Do Hawks Eat Owls Baby
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Besides, hawks are day hunters, while owls are nocturnal. Owls prey at night and generally stay in the nest during the day. So, hawks usually don’t get an empty field to attack in an owl’s nest.

But hawks, as per their instinct, if they get a chance to feast on the owl’s baby, won’t hesitate.

Do Owls Eat Hawks?

Hawks usually avoid stronger predators like owls or eagles. So, do owls also follows the same theory?

Well, the hawk’s and an owl’s encounter is not a common scene. Both of them know that its result is deadly. One is bound to lose its life in the battle. 

Whether an owl will attack and eat a hawk depends on the owl’s species, size and circumstances. There are over 200 species of these two birds. Their size, hunting habits and stamina are different.

Do Owls Eat Hawks
Image Credit: Pexels, Canva

Occasionally, owls are seen attacking hawk’s nests at night and eating eggs, young and even adult hawks. As owls are nocturnal, it’s not a tough catch for them. Moreover, it’s not a daily occurrence.

Generally, they make a sudden attack at full speed and squeeze the prey with curved talons. They inflict deep wounds on the prey with their sharp beaks. In most cases, owls start eating their prey when it is still struggling.

Final Words

Occasionally, hawks can eat young, injured, weak or old owls. Hawks are not picky hunters. If there’s an opportunity, they can hunt anything smaller than them.

But adult owls are mostly stronger and faster than hawks. They have acute eyesight and hearing sense. Top of that, they are nocturnal. So they easily hunt other day predators like hawks at night with their sharply curved beaks and talons. So owl is the last name a hawk will want to mess with.

Usually, hawks avoid owls. But because of territory, sometimes these two dominating birds can end up in a deadly encounter. Whoever wins the battle will feast on the other one. Sometimes, owls have been seen attacking hawk’s nests at night and eating eggs, young and even adult hawks.

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