Can You Own A Pet Hawk?

Can you have a hawk as a pet? While it is very well possible to keep a hawk, I must admit they don’t make good pets. However, if you wish to own a hawk there are several hurdles you have to take. In this article, you get to know what it’s like to own a pet hawk. 

Pet hawk

Birds of prey have a very special appeal to many of us. But in general, you can that owning one is not a great deal. No matter if we talk about eagles, falcons or hawks, it’s better to leave these creatures in the wild.

Additionally, many people who decide to get one find that they were originally looking for something else. Hawks don’t have a special personality, they don’t like to spend time with humans and they make a lot of work.

Is It Legal To Own A Hawk?

This is the first problem that occurs when people decide that they want to have a pet hawk. In the United States, Canada and Mexico these birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The law says, that it’s illegal to keep birds as pets that are native in these countries. In the case of raptors, there is a way around this law: becoming a master falconer.

A falconer is allowed to keep birds of prey including vultures. But to be clear from the beginning, it’s a lot of work to become the license. For example, you need to find a falconer who is willing to take you as an apprentice.

After a few years of education, you have to pass an exam to get the license. Think you are done now and allowed to keep a pet hawk? I have to disappoint you. The state will send someone who reviews the enclosure and habitat you provide for the bird.

Only if everything meets the standards you can go on. 

Pet Hawks Eat A Lot Of Food

Hawks eat a lot of food and they prefer whole animals that would be their prey in the wild. Be prepared to provide them with bunnies, rats, mice and quails.

Hawk feeding on pigeon

If that’s no problem for you, I have to remind you that you would have to store all the dead animals somewhere. I bet your fridge is too small so you would have to buy a second one and fill it up with hundreds of mice or other dead bodies.

There is nearly always leftover when your bird has finished eating. And you are the person to clean the mess up. Not to mention when the cadavers start to rot fast in the summertime. The smell is disgusting.

On the money side, you have to plan 3 $ a day to buy the food.

A Cage Is Not Enough

Pet birds live in cages and they will fly through your rooms every now and then, right? Nothing could be more wrong for hawks.

They need a large aviary with an enclosure that protects them from harsh weather conditions. Plan to dedicate a good part of your garden to this type of habitat. Don’t have a garden? Don’t worry, you can build it indoors but you would need a whole room for your bird.

Be prepared to clean it up every day. Hawks poop a lot and you would have to clean it up.

Pet Hawks Need To Free Fly

Hawks need to free fly every day. Locking them into their enclosure is cruel and no choice at all.

When you go and let your bird fly, it can always be, that he decides to stay in nature and never comes back.

Flying hawk

Not later than now it should be clear, that these birds need a lot of time. The point is, that nobody is allowed to do it except you or another falconer. 

That means that the days where you were able to go on vacation are over now unless you can take your bird with you. Chances are low and many travel destinations are impossible. 

Pet Hawks Cost A Lot Of Money

Now that you know how to get a pet hawk, let’s talk about the costs. So how much is a hawk? That really depends. Factors are the age, if the bird is already trained and the exact species.

While 16 species are living in the United States and Canada, the red-tail hawk is most common under falconers. Different websites list prices between 600 and 5000 $.

Training a hawk takes much time which is the reason why you would have to pay upwards of 2000 $ for a successful hunter.

After you bought the bird, the real costs only start to occur. You need the aviary and many other items and equipment that is needed for falconry.

Hawks Need A Special Vet

Only a few veterinarians have experience with birds of prey and are able to treat these creatures. Be prepared to travel long distances even for regular check-ups which are inevitable.

Of course, vets with qualification for hawks will send large bills that add up.

Hawks Don’t Like To Be Petted

Last but not least, you will have to do all the work and spend all the money for a pet, that tolerates you at best. Hawks don’t like to spend time with humans nor do they want to be petted.

Looking for a special personality? Then you might better opt for a macaw, hawks are not for you.