Like a Hawk


Word on the street — or in the air — says that hawk sightings on the East Coast have increased recently. I.B. Parnell, Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, says he has seen no data to indicate that their numbers have grown, but the birds always are around.

“We have resident and migrant populations of hawks,” he says. “They can cause some problems for folks with pets, but they prey primarily on squirrels, rats and mice.”

Animals that weigh less than 10 pounds could be at risk for being captured by hawks. “It happens, but I wouldn’t say it’s common,” says Parnell. “Hawks also might try to drive an animal away if they have a nest nearby and they think it’s a threat to the nest.”

Parnell recommends taking down bird- feeders that attract the squirrels, mice and rats that, in turn, attract hawks. In addition, he says owners of small pets should not let them outside without supervision — and when outside, watch them like a hawk.