NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Birds of prey are an important part of Middle Tennessee’s ecosystem. However, this time of year, some of these birds may threaten small dogs and cats.
Nesting is often the culprit for aggressive behavior, says TWRA Bird Conservation Coordinator David Hanni, “This is happening mainly right now. Especially during the nesting season, the birds are nesting. Their eggs are finally hatching. And so, they’re very protective around their nest.”
Red-shouldered hawks may show aggressive behavior toward humans and animals and smaller species like the northern mockingbird. If your pet is small enough, a big bird can carry them away. “They’re typically trying to hunt rabbits and squirrels and things like that. And so, if they look similar to their prey items, they may carry them away,” said Hanni.
“The best thing is to give them their space. You can use an umbrella to try and shield them. And typically, when you have a small dog or animal, it’s always good to be out there with them and have them on a leash.”
If you want to go a little further, protective vests like CoyoteVest (pictured above) can also help. These vests are made of material that protects pets from sharp talons. Bright spikes can also dissuade large birds from attacking your dog or cat.