[Best Answers] Do Hawks Attack Humans? + Other Amazing Hawks Facts

This post is to continue my “birds and wildlife series”. So far we have talked about how birds can be kept in your house and what do they eat, then we talked about eagles, today let’s talk about hawks and why they attack

Hawks are intelligent and do not fight if they know that it would probably not make a difference. That is why hawks mostly stay away from humans. As parents, hawks protect their young ones, so they may attack humans if humans get close to their hatchlings. But do hawks attack humans? Yes, a hawk can dive-bomb a human, but it has to be that the person is trying to harm or get close to the hawk’s hatchlings.

Do Hawks Attack Humans?
Do Hawks Attack Humans?

This is just a defensive behavior to scare away a human. Hawks have a reputation as one of the most dangerous birds globally. They are known to attack humans that get close to their hatchlings. However, this is not always true, as most hawks avoid human-populated places.

Do Hawks Attack Humans?

It happens! While hawk’s attack on humans is rare, they do happen occasionally. Usually, hawks avoid humans, so it is rare to see hawks attack humans.
However, there are some cases when hawks attack humans. For instance, if you go near a hawk’s hatchlings, it will dive-bomb you because hawks are very protective of their hatchlings. Also, humans rarely get close to hawks’ hatchlings; it is rare to see hawks attack humans.

More hawks are trooping to urban areas, so hawks and humans are learning to live peacefully together in some areas. Even if hawks and humans coexist, hawks will always draw a boundary. Hawks will not hesitate to attack humans because they usually get aggressive when they spot anything close to their nest. So, if you want to watch a hawk’s nest, it is better to keep some distance to avoid being dive-bombed by a hawk.

Why Can Hawks Be Dangerous To Humans?

Hawks are one of the most dangerous animals to humans. They are the top predators in North America, and they have a lot of natural enemies. As they can fly, they can easily escape their predators. They also have sharp nails that tear their prey apart. In addition, their eyesight is particularly good and allows them to see and hunt prey from a long distance. Hawks mostly hunt small mammals such as rabbits and rodents, but sometimes they will attack larger animals such as deer.

Do Hawks Attack Humans?
Do Hawks Attack Humans?

Hawks are considered one of the most dangerous birds because they can attack and injure humans by swooping down on them from an altitude or attacking them with their talons or beak if they get close to their nest. So, before you approach a hawk nest, especially during the breeding season, think twice because there is a possibility of a hawk attacking you as you approach the nest.

Hawk Attacks On Humans

There have been some cases of hawks attacking humans. One of them was the one that happened in 2018 when a hawk attacked two people outside a Connecticut store.
Another one is a case of a man attacked by a mother hawk in 2011. Another one happened in 2006 when a red-tailed hawk attacked more than 30 people on the Village Green Golf Course in Woodridge, Illinois.

This attack occurred during hawk’s nesting season, when hawks are usually extremely defensive of their hatchlings.
Hawk attacks can be fatal, especially if you are not wearing a helmet. It is best to avoid areas with hawks because they know that these places provide food, so it is easier for them to recognize you as prey.

Do Hawks Like Humans?

The question is simple, but the answer is no. Hawks never like humans because humans are not their natural prey. Hawks see humans as a potential threat and are always ready to fend off any threat from humans. So, whenever you see a hawk near you or your home, remember that it is in no way your friend and stay away, especially during the breeding season. If hawks feel threatened, they can be extremely dangerous. They may not be able to kill a human, but they can certainly injure a human.

Can You Kill A Hawk If It Attacks You?

What should you do if a hawk is attacking you and your life is in danger? Unfortunately, you are not allowed to kill a hawk in the US. Under the United States Migratory Bird Treaty Act 1918 (16 USC, 703-711), you cannot kill a hawk because the law says it is illegal to hunt, cage, harm, poison, or shoot them without a permit. If you kill a hawk, you can be fined $15,000. Some states have their laws protecting hawks. Even if you get federal permission to kill a hawk, you will still need state permission. Funny enough, when you are under a hawk attack, you have no chance to go and obtain a permit unless you already have one.

How Do You Stop A Hawk From Attacking You?

Hawks are birds of prey with sharp talons and curved, hooked beaks. They usually do so from above when they attack, swooping down to seize their target in their talons. Many people are afraid of hawks because of their sharp claws and hooked beaks. If you want to avoid a hawk attack, you should stay away from hawks, especially their nest. Here are more ways to stay away from hawks to avoid being surprisingly attacked:

  • Stay away from hawks’ territory: If you see a hawk’s nest, find your way out of the place, at least as far as half a mile. However, if a hawk builds its nest on a tree in your yard, it may be difficult for you to avoid it. Try the next tip.
  • Discourage hawks from your yard: If you already attract small birds to your backyard, it is time to remove the bird feeders. You can also remove rat or mice colonies, use smell repellents, and whatever you think can make hawks uncomfortable in your yard. If you refuse them access to food, they will avoid your area.
  • Wave your arms and be very loud: Hawks hate aggressive movements and loud noise. So, waving your arms and shouting can intimidate a hawk.
  • Do not turn your back: If you have an aggressive hawk in your area, make sure you are not ever turning your back; else, it can give you a surprising dive-bombing.
  • Use an umbrella: If you have a threatening hawk in your backyard or area, always use an open umbrella. Since hawks like to attack from up, an umbrella can protect you from a surprise attack.
  • Duck your head: If you see a hawk coming down to attack you, duck your head and move away from there.
  • Use mirrors: Since mirrors will show the reflection of a hawk and since they are territorial, they may attack the mirror believing it is another hawk.

What Makes A Backyard Attractive To A Hawk?

To understand what makes a backyard attractive to a hawk, we need to understand the hawk’s perspective. Hawks are predators, and they need food. They often use large trees or buildings as their nest sites. They like open areas that provide plenty of food and cover from the wind and rain. Hawks are attracted to yards with bird feeders, small trees, little vegetation, and open spaces where they can see for miles. So, if any of the following is in your backyard, expect hawks to frequent your backyard:

Do Hawks Attack Humans?
Do Hawks Attack Humans?
  • Small birds that visit your backyard feeder
  • You keep backyard chicken
  • You have lizards, frogs, and insects living in your backyard, or your house is near a pond
  • You have rodents, voles, and moles foraging under your feeder.

These give hawks a sign that their food source is in your backyard. If you have all these in your backyard, expect hawks to nest close to your home. Once they nest around your home, you need to be extremely careful.

What Makes Hawks So Aggressive During Nesting Times?

Hawks are among the most aggressive birds during nesting time. They tend to be aggressive and attack other animals near their nests. They generally go through a rise in testosterone levels during the breeding season, which makes them aggressive. Crows that hawks feared the most would not go close to a hawk nest during nesting time. So, if a hawk sees you around its nest during the breeding season, it may attack you.

How Do A Hawk Attack A Human?

A hawk is a bird of prey with a long and powerful beak, sharp talons, and excellent eyesight. They are known for their speed and agility. Hawks like a surprise attack, so they usually attack from behind. However, a hawk may first fly past you to scare you, and if you fail to leave the place, it attacks you. Remember that hawks carry some diseases that can infect you if it scratches you. So, it is best to protect yourself from its attack by moving away from its territory quickly.

Diseases Spread By Hawks

Hawks are not just a nuisance but also a serious threat to our well-being. They spread more than 60 diseases and can cause serious harm to our health. Hawks are one of the most dangerous animals in the world, and they have been known to spread different kinds of diseases through contact with droppings and direct contact. These diseases include:

  • West Nile virus: This is transmitted through the mosquito, which is the carrier. This can be fatal and results in many months of illness.
  • Avian tuberculosis: This particular disease spreads via contact with bird droppings.
  • E. coli: This disease can spread through direct contact with humans or infected food and water.
  • Pasteurellosis: Pateurellosis spreads through bites or scratches from infected hawks or birds. This disease can make scratch marks itchy, red, and infected and cause respiratory issues such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and septicemia.
  • Candidiasis: Candidiasis is a fungal infection that spreads via contact with hawks. It affects the intestine, skin, mouth, and respiratory system.
  • Erysipeloid: This disease spreads from hawks to humans via direct contact. It affects the skin and causes an infection that results in blue-red skin. If not treated quickly, it can also spread to your joint.
  • Avian influenza: This disease can be deadly. Its flu-like symptoms include cough, fever, and muscle aches. It spreads to humans via infected hawk droppings.
    Other parasites that hawks spread include:
  1. Lice
  2. Ticks
  3. Fleas

How To Tell A Hawk’s Nest Apart From A Squirrel’s Nest?

If you are interested in bird watching, you might want to know how to tell a hawk’s nest apart from a squirrel’s nest. The answer is that the hawk’s nest is much more likely to be made of sticks, twigs, and leaves, while the squirrel’s nest is made of leaves. When identifying a hawk’s nest, the first thing you should look for is a large stick. This stick will be about as tall as the birds sitting on it.

Do Hawks Attack Humans?
Do Hawks Attack Humans?

It is normally bigger than a squirrel’s nest. You can also see if any sticks or twigs are sticking out from the entrance or if any feathers are lying outside it. Squirrel nests are typically found in trees or bushes and are usually smaller than a hawk’s nest.

What Are Hawks Afraid Of?

The answer is clear; they are afraid of things that can cause them harm, including humans and other predators. If you want to scare hawks off your property, the following should help you:

  1. Deterrents: You can use wildlife deterrents like fake owls and scarecrows to send a hawk away from your property. When you place a fake owl in your backyard, it will scare off a hawk. However, it would help to move the owl statue every two days.
  2. Threatening motions: When you wave your hand continuously, it can deter a hawk attack. But you can set up a flag to scare off a hawk from your property because they hate sudden or unexpected movements.
  3. Loud noise: When you shout at a hawk, you can discourage it from attacking you. If you want to scare it off completely, you can hang a bell to do the job for you.

Why Is A Hawk Dive Bombing Me?

While many people might have a tough time understanding why a hawk would dive-bomb them, the answer is quite simple. The reason for the hawk dive-bombing you is usually because it is defending its nest or it is defending its territory.

Do Hawks Attack Humans?
Do Hawks Attack Humans?

It is important to remember that it could be dangerous if you see a hawk nearby in your yard. The best thing to do is leave the area as soon as possible and not provoke the bird further.


So, do hawks attack humans? Yes, hawks attack humans. However, most cases of hawks attacking humans occur during nesting season. That means around March to May and June, you should keep away from hawks’ nests, or else you may be attacked. The worst thing about a hawk’s attack is that if it scratches you, you could be infected with various diseases – the reason you need to avoid hawks’ attacks. The only way to avoid a hawk’s attack is to stay away from its nest. Unfortunately, you cannot harm a hawk because US Migratory Act protects them. So, take precautions always.

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