Birds of Prey at Bird Feeders are Just Nature Being Nature

The Circle of Life is Painful to Watch But in the Words of Naturist Jim Fowler “It’s Just Nature Being Nature”

If you’re one of the 35 million American that faithfully stocks your bird feeders, you’ve accepted the fact that you’re going to attract more than just songbirds. Where there are songbirds, there are birds of prey.

And sometimes things can get a bit ugly.

An increasingly common sight is a hawk feasting on the birds you’re feeding.

Mourning Our Doves

Just this last week we had the misfortune of witnessing juvenile Cooper’s Hawks hunting our Mourning Doves.

It happened so quickly, with no time to react.

Two doves gone in milliseconds before our eyes.

Cooper's Hawks swoop down scattering the birds at your feeders
Cooper’s Hawks swoop down scattering the birds at your feeders

Bird Feeders Cause a Frenzy

Cooper’s Hawks are relentless predators.

They’re one of three North American Accipiters or bird hawks with short, round wings and a long tail enabling it to maneuver adeptly through trees.

Look up, and you might catch a glimpse of a Cooper’s Hawk perching nearby, waiting to swoop down scattering the birds at your feeders and singling one out in flight.

Other times they pursue their prey on the ground half running and half flying.

READ: What Bird Species Would You Be?

Circle of Life

Witnessing any animal hunt is never easy, and seeing the circle of life play out before your very eyes can be quite painful.

And if you feed birds in your yard, eventually it’s bound to happen.

Cooper's Hawk sits on the lawn under the shade of a white pine tree
Cooper’s Hawk sits on the lawn under the shade of a white pine tree

When it happens, as much as you’re in shock and then feeling mad, keep in mind that if you love birds that most birds of prey don’t make it their first year.

The life you saw taken helped a bird higher up the food chain survive.

Winter is the most harrowing time for raptors.

The majority of young birds of prey negotiating their first winter don’t survive because competition for resources looms large at a time when those resources are the most scarce.

Jim Fowler Says It’s Just Nature

We were reminded of this when we had the pleasure of interviewing the late Wild Kingdom star Jim Fowler at his home in Rowayton, Connecticut in 2017.

The late Wild Kingdom star Jim Fowler said he he didn’t mind if a hawk occasionally comes into his feeder area because “It’s just nature being nature"
The late Wild Kingdom star Jim Fowler said he he didn’t mind if a hawk occasionally comes into his feeder area because “It’s just nature being nature”

Jim talked about his custom-designer Fowler bird feeder he created to enjoy birdwatching in his backyard.

And reminds us that no matter how upsetting it seems to have a songbird “taken” by a predator, that’s just nature.

He points to a spot on his yard.

“A Cooper’s Hawk came in and nailed one of the songbirds at the feeder, right here.”

READ: Wild Kingdom Star Jim Fowler Shares Custom-designed Bird Feeder

Nature Isn’t A Kind Place

Jim said it serves as a reminder that nature is not such a nice place as everybody thinks it is.

“Animals are fighting, killing, and eating each other. Humans don’t work that way, but nature does,” he says.

“The predators take off the weak and sick, so they don’t breed, that’s why everything in nature that survives is very tuned in and successful.”

Jim said he didn’t mind if a hawk occasionally comes into his feeder area.

“It’s just nature being nature.”

You can’t stops birds of prey from visiting your feeders and stalking songbirds (unless you take them down), so instead focus on the factors you do control for your backyard wildlife
You can’t stops birds of prey from visiting your feeders and stalking songbirds (unless you take them down), so instead focus on the factors you do control for your backyard wildlife

Focus on Factors You Control

So as unfortunate as it seems, try to shake it off and think about the other songbirds you’re helping all year long.

Focus on the factors you do control for your backyard wildlife.

Such as offering food, shelter, water, a refuge from toxic sprays, and safety from mowers.

And remember, birds of prey are just nature being nature.

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  1. Humans do lots of killing. Many billions of animals are cruelty confined and slaughtered each year in this countryl

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