Summertime is the best time to see baby animals in Michigan, as young birds and mammals venture from their nest and den sites and begin to learn from their parents how to hunt and forage for food.

Young Cooper’s hawks and red-tailed hawks might visit your neighborhood this month as they explore their surroundings. Common in urban and suburban settings, these two species sometimes will stop at trees, fences and deck railings to rest after their first few flights.

“While it may be alarming to see these hawks in your yard, they mean you and your pets no harm,” said Holly Vaughn, public outreach and engagement manager in the DNR Wildlife Division.

Cooper’s hawks primarily eat other birds and sometimes squirrels and small mammals. Red-tailed hawks generally eat squirrels, rabbits and small mammals. Pets larger than 4 pounds or so are too large for these hawks to prey upon, so you likely don’t need to worry too much about them.

“If you have chickens in your yard, make sure they are protected from all sides by fencing or chicken wire,” said Vaughn. “All hawks are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so they cannot be captured or harmed.”

The young hawks will leave their parents to find hunting territories of their own by late summer. If you do see a hawk in your yard, enjoy the sighting and watch the antics of these young birds as they learn their way in a whole new world.

Questions? Contact Holly Vaughn at 248-881-9429.