Any Ideas To Scare Away Red Tail Hawks?

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:28 am
Location: WV/Ripley

A frightening sight when I walked outside today......2 huge red tail hawks circling our property.

My two little Martin parents were diving at them and squawking. I yelled and clapped and waved my arms. I worried I would loose my Martin parents and screamed for Frank. He said they are protected so he could not fire a gun to scare them away. He also said if those Hawks had wanted one of the Martins they would have already snared one.

Eventually the huge red tails slowly circled to the north and out of sight.
Thankfully Mom and Dad Martin returned to the babies this evening.
Does anyone have any methods for scaring these huge hawks away?
I don't want them to feel comfortable in our area, especially next week when the babies fledge.

Too mortified to take pictures to show you how huge they were.......bigger than vulchers.

Yes, those red-tailed hawks are big, aren't they? The first time I saw one, I thought a crane was flying by! The only thing I have thought to do is to make friends with the grackles and crows in my area. Put up a big feeder in the corner of your yard with the sunflower mix the grackles like. Find a spot (I use the metal box that has the controls for a stoplight) to put out peanuts for the crows. Since I have done this, there has not been one time that I have seen a hawk of any kind that didn't have a large squawking escort of grackles and crows. And making sure your martins have a good flyway is essential. And more than one row of perches over the house. If they have more than one row, they will perch on the bottom rows and the top row can be a sort of guard. Put some decoys on it, and you'll increase the odds even more in the PMs favor. Good luck!
John Miller
Posts: 4778
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Red tail hawks feed mostly on rodents, snakes and frogs. Last season, a pair nested 100 yards from one of the martin setups I manage in a park. Martins and red-wing blackbirds would chase the hawks when they flew over the martin housing several times daily carrying rodents to the hawk nestlings, but the hawks never tried to catch martins. They did not return this year and I miss them. One benefit to Red Tails is that they are dominate over Cooper's Hawks and may chase them away.
John Miller
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:28 am
Location: WV/Ripley

That is very helpful information. Thank you so much.

Red tail hawks are majestic and I used enjoy watching them until I became a Purple Martin landlord and had a panic attack today. You have helped to educate me on their habits.
Martin man RI
Posts: 416
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 7:04 pm
Location: MA/RI area

I have three new sites with resident Red Tail hawks with nest near by
I had wondered why no coopers hawks are around because the red tailed
dont like them. One older site that i had for years had resident coopers
and no red tailed and the coopers would rule that farm thats just one more
reason why that older site is being moved no red tail hawks around to protect
the martins. I had a red tail nest within two hundred feet of my colony and
no problems at all. They all got along just fine and the martins did not give off the death screams when the retailed would do a fly over not like when the
coopers would fly over all you could hear the screams of martins for a mile.
Glen Webb Jr
Posts: 478
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:03 pm
Location: Illinois/Stewardson

Yes not all hawks are a problem for martins. Red-tails and harriers especially, and I suppose to a lesser extent one could include kestrels, are not a major threat. Some people have reported red-tails attacking the martin housing. But I doubt a red-tailed hawk would attempt to attack martin fledglings/parents. I have personally never had a problem with kestrels. In fact I've had them and the martins co-mobbing (nice word huh?) the resident lady Cooper's hawk on a several occasions. I even watched our red-tailed hawk chase the Cooper's hawk. Boy that was funny.
They did not return this year and I miss them. One benefit to Red Tails is that they are dominate over Cooper's Hawks and may chase them away.
I love it. I just wish the red-tails were able to eat them all. :wink:
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Kansas

I agree that Red-tailed Hawks are not a bad thing to have flying in your colony airspace. Most of the time here, they are high and the martins ignore them. IF they get too low, they will get mobbed. I am happy to have them if they do a good job of keeping the Cooper's Hawks away. Those are the ones to really not want around. I have never seen the Red-taileds act as if they thought they could get a meal at my colony. Best wishes for the remainder of your season!! :grin:
Post Reply