Can hawks attack while on the ground?


9 Years
Apr 25, 2010
I know hawks can swoop down and snatch up their prey, but will they also land and follow on foot a chicken who ducks under a spruce tree or in the bushes?
I think it can happen that way, but I don't know if it would do that to a full grown chicken. I've seen a Cooper's hawk pounce on a squirrel from the ground.
The short answer is "yes". They will follow birds if they think they can kill it but prefer aerial attacks.
I agree with Woodmort. I don't think they like attacking on foot as well as a clean swoop and hit. I met someone here in my town that had a Cooper's hawk land outside their run, walk through the big human door and then walk through a pop door to grab a small seabright. We frequently have Cooper's visiting our property but I usually don't worry about them with my larger chickens. I've also seen a Cooper's jump from palm frond to palm frond chasing a mockingbird. The mockingbird was protecting a nest and the Cooper's eventually grabbed and caught it. I think it's much riskier for the hawk to attack that way.
They will hunt on the ground, but I think they prefer to do aerial attacks.
This is a video of a hawk hunting on the ground I found on youtube:
Hubby witnessed a hawk attack our banty about a month ago. It missed her on it's initial strike and hit the ground. It then ran across the ground after her, with her screaming the whole way. Hubby was outside at the time and saw it chasing our Chrissie. He through something at the hawk and it flew into a tree. Our girl got away with only a scratch across her back and an entire trail of feathers on the ground!
A hawk flew into my one-room coop, in the middle of the day.

The clean-out door was open - it is four feet high by three feet wide. The coop is eight by twelve feet. Six feet high in the center and slopes down to four feet high on the sides so it is not really big in there for flying around tactics. The clean-out door is on the backside I can't see from the house. The people door and the pop out chicken-size door I can see from the house.

The girls were in there and I heard them screaming and wings flapping. I arrived causing the hawk to fly out over my shoulder.

The girls were terrified. All the available hiding places had birds squeezed in them - in the nest boxes, and behind the broody box, and between a bale of hay and the wall. With ten hens, not enough hiding places and not much room for the hawk to maneuver - he was right in with them.

The Buff Orpington was running in circles, staring at the ceiling without really seeing, screaming, in shock.

Two others that didn't find a hiding spot were standing each in a corner with their bill pressed firmly into the wood with their eyes shut, shaking.

The roo was nowhere to be found - as in he's the first one to hide when somethings up.

If I hadn't heard the commotion and arrived when I did, I hate to think what could have happened.

My good chicken dog was in the house with me or he would have handled it like he has before. But I don't leave the clean-out door open on nice days anymore.

I gave them all hugs and tried to callm them down.

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