U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version


Document Type



Washburn, B.E. 2016. Hawks and Owls. Wildlife Damage Management Technical Series. USDA, APHIS, WS National Wildlife Research Center. Ft. Collins, Colorado. 17p.


Human-Wildlife Conflicts: Hawks and owls can negatively impact a variety of human interests, including important natural resources, livestock and game bird production, human health and safety, and companion animals. Conflicts between raptors and people generally are localized and often site-specific. However, the economic and social impacts to the individuals involved can be severe. Despite the problems they may cause, hawks and owls provide important benefits and environmental services. Raptors are popular with birdwatchers and much of the general public. They also hunt and kill large numbers of rodents, reducing crop damage and other problems.

Damage Identification

Management Methods


Species Overview: Given the number of different hawks and owls in North America, the potential for human-raptor conflict is signifi-cant. The northern goshawk, red-tailed hawk, and great horned owl account for the majority of conflicts between humans and hawks and owls. This publication focuses on these three species, but most of the general biology, na-ture of conflicts, and damage management methods will apply to other hawks and owls.

Legal Status: All hawks and owls in the United States are federally pro-tected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 USC, 703−711). Hawks and owls typically are protected under state wildlife laws or local ordinances, as well. These laws strictly prohibit the capture, killing, or possession of hawks or owls (or their parts) without a special permit