are birds of prey protected

Aggressive raptors — Dos and Don’ts

Most likely, a raptor that is aggressive at this time of year is just attempting to defend its nest. The following advice will help you deal with an aggressive raptor:

  • DON’T leave small pets under 10 pounds exposed outside. When small pets are outside, especially at night, keep them under your supervision or in a covered area.
  • DO take down bird feeders and anything that could give small mammals that raptors frequent a source of food or shelter for a week or two.
  • DO respond to threats and stay away from a nest’s immediate vicinity for three to four weeks. If leaving the area around a nest during breeding is inevitable, wearing an umbrella can lessen your visibility as a possible predator. A walkway or yard can be protected with a tarp or canopy tent.
  • A live nest or any bird should not be harmed in any way. The federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects raptors, and any take may result in federal prosecution. Raptors are also protected by state regulation in most states.
  • DO get in touch with your neighborhood wildlife agency if you need help handling a hostile bird on your property. With the exception of eagle nests, inactive nests may be removed without a permit.

During the nesting season, which runs roughly from January to August, a number of raptor species, such as Peregrine Falcons, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, Northern Goshawks, and Broad-winged Hawks, may exhibit aggressive behavior towards humans. Goshawks are particularly prone to aggressive air-borne diving on intruders. Some species may be more aggressive than others. These birds only behave in this manner to safeguard their young.

Once all of its young have flown and left the nest area, an aggressive raptor will usually cease defending its nest. Generally speaking, you should allow one month for the eggs to hatch into fledglings and an additional two to four weeks for the young to fully leave the area.

Find a bird on the ground? Don’t panic

This time of year, it’s not uncommon to find raptors, like American kestrels and Cooper’s hawks, outside of their ground nests. This is NOT unusual, and it probably shouldn’t worry you. Known as branching or fledging, many young raptors at this stage are old enough to learn how to fly and are not as dangerous as people believe.

The behavior known as “nest jumping” is exclusive to predatory birds. Younger raptors move onto branches surrounding their nest before making their first flight, and they frequently fall If the young raptors are on the ground, their parents will still feed and watch over them, and they may even encourage them to fly or climb back up the tree.

In order to avoid hurting more people than helping, heed the following advice if you come across a fledging on the ground:

  • AVOID picking up the bird and bringing it to a rehab facility. It is not only a disservice to rehab centers and the raptor, but also a disservice unless the bird is clearly injured. For raptors to learn how to fly and capture prey, they must be reared by their parents. Rehab centers are far less capable of doing this. Taking a healthy bird to a rehabilitation facility reduces its chances of survival and adds needless stress to the facility, taking scarce resources away from animals that are actually in need.
  • DO describe the situation over the phone with your local wildlife agency or wildlife rescue center. They can best advise you on how to respond.
  • If the bird is in immediate danger, DO attempt to return it to the tree (i e. in the path of vehicles or other traffic). If not, it is best to leave the bird where it is.

During the pandemic, our work didn’t stop. In the face of numerous obstacles, such as finding food and medical supplies and ensuring staff safety, the IFAW BRRC team acted quickly to make sure the raptors under our care were taken care of and could take to the skies as soon as they were able. Find out more about the wildlife hospital we operated during COVID-19.

As indicator species, prey-bird populations and health in a given area serve as a barometer for the general health of the habitat. For instance, if there are plenty of rodents for them to eat, the number of birds of prey will also be high because a high rodent population indicates an abundance of plant foods, such as seeds and grains.

The raptors are tested to make sure their flying competency has been fully restored and they still have a natural instinct against humans after receiving treatment for their behavioral, psychological, and physical needs. The bird is released back into the sky at a time and location that have been carefully chosen to maximize its chances of surviving in the wild once these boxes have been checked.

A class of birds recognized for their skill as predators are called birds of prey. There are more than 560 different kinds of predatory birds on Earth, with the exception of Antarctica. These species include hawks, owls, eagles, vultures, and falcons. Their remarkable speed and keen vision enable them to hunt small animals such as fish, lizards, rodents, and rabbits, in addition to other birds. Their hooked beaks and sharp talons are ideal for snatching prey from the water, the air, or the ground and transporting it away.

Predatory birds admitted to IFAW BRRC frequently sustain a variety of injuries, such as trauma, orphaned or baby raptors falling from nests, exhaustion from not finding enough prey in the wild, and illegal falconry. However, they are in safe hands. A specialized hospital for birds of prey, IFAW BRRC is manned by licensed veterinarians and raptor rehabilitators. Our rehabilitators have been saving over 5,800 raptors from all over Beijing for more than 20 years.


Can you shoot birds of prey?

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and state laws make it illegal to kill, capture, possess (actual bird or parts of, including feathers), harass, or harm any bird of prey.

Are hawks a protected bird?

Federal and state laws protect all hawks and owls. Shooting can be authorized under depredation permits in specific situations involving public health and safety hazards or seriously affecting a person’s livelihood.

Why are raptors federally protected?

It is important to remember that raptors play a vital role in keeping our communities healthy. These specialized birds of pretty bring balance to our ecosystem by keeping pigeon and dove populations healthy and reducing rodent populations. In doing so, they help prevent disease from spreading.

Are any birds of prey endangered?

What is their conservation status? Each of the approximately 560 raptor species has its own conservation status on the IUCN red list. Of these, 18% are considered vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, and 13% are listed as near threatened.