How to Scare and Keep Hawks Away from Your Backyard

Hawks are animals that you really should try to keep away from your backyard, especially if you have small pets outside such as a cat or dog. It’s scary to see a hawk around your yard because they can snatch prey effortlessly and without warning right from your yard.

If you have chickens or any other farm animals, it’s also cause for concern if you see hawks flying around. Here are some of the best methods available that can help scare and keep the hawks away from your backyard and away from your animals.

1. Set Up an Owl Decoy or Scarecrow

Owl decoys and scarecrows will scare hawks away and keep them out of your backyard. It’s important that if you use products like this that you move the owl decoy frequently so that the hawk doesn’t catch onto it being a trap. Hawks are a very intelligent species so they are likely to figure out it’s a decoy and end up not being scared away from it if you just keep it in one spot.

There are a lot of benefits of using the owl decoy or scarecrow and the main benefit is that it’s not actually a predator so there’s no harm to the hawk. The hawk will want to stay away from anything it perceives to be a predator, such as an owl, so putting up a fake one makes the hawk think it’s really there and looking for food. This deterrent is also great because it’s cheap to purchase a decoy and they can also help scare other animals away from your yard too.

The biggest con to using a decoy or scarecrow is that you have to remember to move it around every day or two. The hawks will notice if the decoy hasn’t move locations or positions, and since they are very smart, it won’t take long for them to not be scared of it anymore. The fact that you have to move the location and position of the decoy every couple days could make it become a hassle, especially if you are busy and forget about it. It also could scare away animals that you don’t mind being in your yard, such as your own dog or cat.

2. Set up Reflective Deterrents

Reflective deterrents are also a great idea to scare hawks away from your backyard, and it’s not harmful to the hawks in any way. You can hang CDs on trees to create a reflective deterrent or you could use some reflective tape. Other ideas include setting up a mirror ball on a stick in order to scare the hawks away.

One of the biggest benefits of reflective deterrents is that they are often very cheap to purchase or use since most of the time you have these reflective deterrents in your home already. If you have a bunch of CDs you never listen to, then you already have a great deterrent and don’t need to spend money to try to get rid of the hawks. Shiny reflective surfaces will scare the birds and also confuse them, so it works to keep them out of your yard without any dangerous methods being utilized.

There are some negatives to using the reflective deterrents though, just like there is with the owls and scarecrows. The hawks will quickly realize that the deterrents are not really a threat if they remain in the same spot for more than a couple days. This is also an item you must move around frequently to continue to deter the hawks.

3. Use Deer Netting on Chicken Pens

Using deer netting on chicken pens is very useful, especially for chicks and smaller chickens that are more vulnerable to the hawks. The deer netting is more of a visual deterrent than anything else, and it’s relatively cheap to purchase depending on how much you need for your pens. Most of the time the hawks won’t even try to get into the deer netting and will simply avoid the area where it’s located.

4. Set Up Covers for Free-Range Chicken

For people who keep free-range, you want to set up covers like small trees and shrubs for the chickens to easily hide under. The hawks will likely not be able to see the chickens if they have trees or shrubs blocking their view. Free-range chickens will be able to hide underneath of the shrubs and trees and it’s like a natural shelter for the chickens. It’s always a good idea to make a tree or shrub shelter for any animal staying outside to protect them from predators like hawks.

Warning – Do Not Kill the Hawks

Even though hawks are a danger to other animals and potentially your livestock, it’s important that you remember to never kill a hawk. A hawk is a federally-protected animal which means that you could end up with a small fine if you kill a hawk without the legal authority to do so.

You can apply for a permit to kill the hawks if they are causing a loss to your personal property, such as to your livestock. It’s important to go through the legal process and obtain a permit before you kill any hawks because it’s not worth going to jail over. The only downside is that it’s very hard to get this type of permit.

How Big of an Animal Can a Hawk Pick Up?

There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to how big of an animal a hawk can pick up, but it’s still a good idea to be careful if you do have small cats or dogs outside. In reality, most hawks can only pick up an animal that is equal to their own weight.

A 1-pound animal is usually the biggest that a hawk can pick up since most hawks weigh about a pound. On rare occasions, a hawk could pick up a 2-pound animal, although it would have to be a very big hawk with a similar weight.


  • ruth:

    There is a hawk that has been trying to get to our bantam chicken.
    One week ago it flew into our yard and brushed me on my side. I screamed, our chicken who was sitting next to me ran for cover and the hawk flew away.
    Today I was out with our chicken and the hawk flew above us. I yelled “Get out of here.”. The chicken ran. The hawk flew behind our next door neighbor’s back house.
    We have noticed there are almost no birds out for a least a week. Usually there are lots of chirping birds. Now there are only 1 or 2.
    How can we get rid of this hawk and save all these birds?
    Thanks for your help.
    Ruth Amernick

  • Mary Walker Cosby:

    I need this information also. My neighbors have a two year old grand child who visits at their home and yard sometimes. Yesterday a hawk was on my deck. It seemed very comfortable there. I need to know how can I get the hawk to go away. My friend thinks it has a nest in one of my trees.

  • BGriffin:

    Do you or anyone know if an Owl decoy will keep quail away? We enjoy having the quail in our yard, however they’re sometimes attacked by near by hawks. Ideally, we like to see the quail and also protect them and other birds (Does, etc) from the hawks. Thanks for the article and any insight you can provide.

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