Bird Watcher's General Store

Little Dogs in Danger from Hawks? - 01/25/02


Dear Bird Folks,

We put out lots of seed and we try to feed all birds, even pigeons. Today we had a crow-sized hawk attack, kill and make off with a pigeon. We have two small dogs, one that weighs 8 pounds and one 20 pounds. We don't want to sound like alarmists, but with this hawk around, should we worry about the safety of our dogs?
Steve, Donna, Genesis and Rosie

Hi Gang,

That's so sweet that you and your dogs still write letters together. My dog hates to write letters with me. Now I'm jealous. The hawk that you had is probably a Cooper's hawk. We wrote about these small hawks a few weeks ago and probably will again before the season is over. Lots of people are upset with them. Cooper's hawks and the similar sharp-shinned hawks definitely make their presence felt this time of the year at our feeders. But you guys can relax, Genesis and Rosie (or is it Steve and Donna? It was never made clear who was who) have little to fear from these hawks.

Hawks are fierce hunters, but there is a size issue here. Cooper's hawks' average weight is about one pound. Your dogs would have to be about the size of a slice of pie for a Cooper's hawk to be interested in it. Even your small 8 pound dog still outweighs a Cooper's hawk 8:1. That would be like a 150 pound human trying to eat someone who weighed 1200 pounds. It just aint gonna happen. And remember, your dogs are still dogs, they can take care of themselves. Just ask any mailman.

So relax kids, your dogs are both safe from this fairly small hawk. But just to be on the same safe side, I wouldn't dress them up to look like a pigeon or a slice of pie.



Artwork by Catherine Clark


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