Birds That Chase Cats: An Unexpected Phenomenon

Most people are familiar with the sight of a cat chasing a bird, but did you know that there are birds that will chase cats? It may sound surprising, but there are actually several bird species that exhibit this uncharacteristic behavior. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and introduce you to some of the feisty birds that have no fear when it comes to our feline friends.

The Reasons Behind the Chase

Birds chase cats for two main reasons: for food and to protect their territory. Some predatory birds see cats as potential prey and will hunt them down for a meal. Others, particularly birds that nest on the ground or in low shrubs, view cats as a threat to their young and will do whatever it takes to drive them away.

Birds That Take on the Challenge

Here are some remarkable bird species known for their fearless pursuit of cats:

1. Red-Winged Blackbirds

Red-Winged Blackbird

These blackbirds are found near cattail marshes and bodies of water, and they fiercely defend their nests. Joining forces with other blackbirds and starlings, they display strength in numbers. Perhaps it is this courage that emboldens them to take on cats.

2. Great-Horned Owls

Great-Horned Owl

Great-horned owls are nocturnal hunters with a taste for small mammals and birds. When they attack a cat, it is likely for a meal. These predators perch high in trees, patiently waiting for their prey to appear. Then, with lightning speed, they swoop down to capture their target.

3. Northern Goshawks

Northern Goshawk

Northern goshawks are predators found in wooded areas, particularly in the north and mountains. They perch in trees, survey their surroundings, and swiftly attack their prey when the opportunity arises. Cats wandering too close to their domain may become unfortunate victims.

4. Red-Tailed Hawks

Red-Tailed Hawk

The Red-tailed hawk is a popular bird of prey in North America. Their diverse diet includes mammals, reptiles, insects, and other birds. Perched high in trees, they patiently wait for their target to show itself before diving down and capturing it with their powerful talons. Cats are known to fall victim to these attacks.

5. Falcons


Falcons are known for their incredible speed and aggression when hunting. They have a wide-ranging diet and will pursue almost anything they can catch. So, it’s not entirely out of the question for a hungry falcon to target a cat if given the chance.

6. Crows


Crows are highly protective of their nests and will attack any creature that ventures too close, including cats. These intelligent birds travel in groups called a murder and will continue their assault until the threat is eliminated. If you have an attractive food source in your backyard, be cautious as it could attract a murder of crows that pose a danger to your pets.

7. Seagulls


Seagulls are also fiercely protective of their young and will not hesitate to attack any perceived threat, including cats. While their diet mainly consists of small prey like rodents, they have been known to hunt small cats and kittens. This behavior is more likely in situations where the seagull is sick or injured and unable to hunt its usual prey.

8. Magpies


Magpies are known to become quite aggressive during their nesting period. They gather as a group, squawking and working together to drive away any potential danger. These omnivorous birds eat invertebrates and plants and will dive down to scare cats away, though physical attacks are less common.

9. Mockingbirds


Mockingbirds have earned their name by their distinctive personalities. They sing beautiful songs while teasing and harassing other birds and small animals. When their chicks begin to explore their surroundings, the parent mockingbirds become fiercely protective and will attack anything that threatens their young.

10. Eagles


Bald eagles, known for their majestic appearance, are birds of prey with a diet that primarily consists of small animals. While squirrels, rabbits, and fish are their usual targets, they may attack cats if they spot them in an open space. However, it is incredibly rare for a bald eagle to carry off a pet cat due to their limited carrying capacity.

11. Blue Jays

Blue Jay

Blue jays, known for their vibrant colors, can also be backyard bullies. They will torment and attack not only cats but also humans and dogs if their nest is nearby. Once their young have left the nest, they generally revert to being passive visitors to your backyard.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do birds attack cats?

A: Birds may attack cats to protect their nests and young or as a means of obtaining food.

Q: Are birds capable of seriously harming a cat?

A: While it is uncommon, birds of prey can cause harm to cats, especially smaller and more vulnerable individuals.

Final Thoughts

It is essential to remember that many mother birds are fiercely protective of their young and will go to great lengths to ensure their safety. This can include taking on larger predators like dogs and cats. If you suspect there is a bird’s nest nearby, it’s important to be vigilant when allowing your pets outdoors.

Similarly, birds of prey may view your pet cat as a potential food source. When giving your cat outdoor access, it’s crucial to keep a watchful eye to prevent any potential accidents or confrontations.

Remember, in the animal kingdom, unexpected behaviors can be found even in the most unlikely creatures. So, the next time you see a bird boldly taking on a cat, know that it’s just another fascinating aspect of nature’s endless wonders.

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