How likely is a bird of prey to swoop in and steal your Yorkie?

Posts have been circulating social media in Idaho lately about owls and hawks being seen perched in neighborhoods looking to make a meal out of area house pets. We looked at several resources, including the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, as well as some other reputable wildlife sources to figure out which, if any Idaho birds of prey are a genuine threat to domestic pets like cats and small dogs.

Which Idaho Raptors are a Threat to Your Pets

After sifting through several social media reports and reputable wildlife agency information on Idaho birds of prey, we compiled a list of the possible threats that the most common raptors in Idaho pose to small, household pets

Gallery Credit: Brad - Canva

Know Your Neighborhood

If you want to avoid a possible run-in with your pets and raptors, you should be aware of what types of birds are in your area. Barn owls can be common in rural residential areas but are much less threatening than an eagle; however, an eagle is less likely to be present in urban landscapes.

Your Dog or Cat Is Not a Raptors First Choice for a Meal

Even if you live in a rural area that is home to birds of prey, encounters are very rare. Regardless of ability, even large raptors generally aren't looking at your pets as a meal. While cats tend to be more susceptible due to their smaller size, most raptors aren't looking to go toe-to-toe with an evolved adult predator. If you see raptors in your neighborhood, it's wise to be aware, but they are more likely looking for ground squirrels and mice than they are your pets.

There are Other Dangers Far Greater than Birds

Yes, many of the birds on this list may pose a possible threat. It's also possible that I'll retire a millionaire by writing content for a media company. The odds exist, but they are very slim. It doesn't mean you shouldn't be safe with your pets. If you have a very small dog or cat, you should be keeping close tabs on them. Idaho is a perfect example of nature and civilization cohabiting much of the same space. Your small pet is more likely to fall victim to animals like coyotes, and cougars than they are birds of prey or even other domestic animals.

What's Your Experience?

After delving through as many reports as we could find, the general rule is that everything but the very smallest of dog breeds and the smallest cats (kittens) are at the greatest risk. Even dogs as little as 10 pounds are considered to be safe. That said, there are always exceptions. If you have first-hand experience with losing a domestic pet to a bird of prey, leave a comment and let us know.

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