The Cost of a Hawk
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How Much Does a Hawk Cost?

Last Updated on January 16, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Owning a hawk can be an incredibly rewarding experience. But before you run out and get your first bird of prey, you need to understand the true cost of falconry.

Hawks are not your average pet – they require specialized care, training, housing, and feeding that can add up quickly. This article will break down the major expenses so you know what you’re getting into with these magnificent hunters of the sky.

I’m going to level with you – hawks are expensive. But don’t let the high price tag scare you off just yet. When cared for properly, a hawk can be a companion for 10-15 years.

The costs are front-loaded with purchase and housing, then level out over time. And the bond you’ll form with these regal raptors is truly priceless.

Highlights on the Cost of a Hawk

Here are the most important points to remember:

  • Hawk prices range widely from $200 for kestrels up to $50,000 for eagles. Mid-size hawks like Harris’s hawks and red-tails are $1,000 – $5,000.
  • Housing, equipment, training, healthcare, food, and enrichment are significant recurring expenses. Budget $2,000+ per year for a mid-size hawk.
  • Falconry requires a substantial time investment as well for training and hunting. It’s a lifestyle more than a hobby.
  • There are ways to reduce costs like DIY housing, used gear, veterinary assistance, and community support.
  • For dedicated falconers, the bond with a hawk makes the financial investment completely worthwhile.

Purchase Price: How Much Does a Hawk Cost?

The purchase price is where most first-time hawk owners get sticker shock. But know that for most species, a hawk is a 10+ year commitment. The initial payment amortizes over time.

Pricing varies wildly depending on the type of hawk:

  • Kestrels: $200 – $500
  • Merlins: $500 – $1,500
  • Harris’s Hawks: $1,000 – $2,500
  • Red Tailed Hawks: $2,500 – $5,000
  • Goshawks: $3,000 – $7,500
  • Eagles: $5,000 – $50,000

Yes, you read that eagle price right! They are the most expensive and challenging to own. For beginners, a kestrel or Harris’s hawk is recommended. Red-tailed hawks are popular but require more space.

Also read our articles about the cost of a falcon, cockatiel, and peacock.

Falconers advise working with a sponsor to find the right hawk at a fair price. Check breeders, other falconers, raptor rescues, and online classifieds. Be wary of unregistered sellers – you want paperwork showing the hawk’s origins.

And remember, a wild hawk caught from the nest will be cheaper but needs extensive training. A captive bred hawk is pricier but already well-socialized. Consider the time investment in training vs. cost.

How Much Does a Trained Hawk Cost?

According to BirdWatchingSolution, you will spend about $1,000 on a fully-trained hawk, without shipping.

Housing Costs: Mews, Weathering Area, Equipment

Housing for your hawk is another significant investment. Hawks should live outdoors in a sheltered mews or weathering area. This allows natural light and ventilation.

Building a proper mews can cost $1,000 – $5,000 for materials, tools, and labor. The structure should be:

  • At least 8 feet tall
  • Well-ventilated
  • Predator and pest-proof
  • Insulated if in cold climates
  • With perches at varying heights

You’ll also need equipment like jesses, leashes, telemetry, a travel box, outdoor perches, bath container and more. This can easily cost $500 – $1,000.

Some falconers do keep birds indoors to save on housing costs. But this requires hawk-proofing the space and extra supervision.

Whether indoors or out, housing for your hawk is a significant expense to account for. But it helps ensure your bird stays healthy, fit, and ready to hunt.

Recurring Costs: Food, Healthcare, Enrichment

Once you have your hawk, you’ll have regular costs for care and feeding. A well-fed, enriched, healthy hawk is a successful falconry partner.

Food is the most predictable expense. Hawks eat 6-10% of their body weight per day. For a medium red-tailed hawk at 2.5lbs, that’s 3.5 to 5.5 oz daily. Feeding mice, chicks, or quail can cost $15 – $30 weekly.

Healthcare expenses pop up periodically. Annual exams, vaccines, and emergency visits average $200 – $500 per year. One major surgery or illness can massively spike costs. Have an emergency fund!

Enrichment costs include new jesses, toys, bath items, perches, and telemetry. Varying enrichment helps prevent behavior issues. Budget $50 – $150 per month for miscellaneous costs.

When you commit to a hawk, you commit to covering their lifetime needs. But caring for these predators is deeply fulfilling.

What Factors Affect the Cost of a Hawk?

Several key factors influence the overall cost of owning a hawk:

  • Type of hawk – Different hawk species have vastly different price tags. Smaller hawks like a kestrel can cost $200-$500. Medium hawks like Harris’s hawks run $1,000-$2,500. Large hawks like red-tailed hawks can cost $2,500-$5,000+.
  • Wild caught or captive bred – A hawk caught from the wild is significantly cheaper but requires more training. A captive bred bird is well-socialized but comes with a higher purchase price.
  • Age of the bird – A hawk chick or eyas will be cheaper but you’ll need to train it. An adult “passage” hawk costs more but may be ready to hunt.
  • Who you purchase from – Buying from a breeder is the safest but most expensive. Getting a hawk from a falconer or rescue is cheaper but riskier.
  • Falconry equipment – You’ll need jesses, leashes, perches, telemetry, a transport box, and more. This can easily cost $500-$1,000.
  • Housing for your hawk – An outdoor mews or weathering area is ideal. This can cost $1,000+ to build. Some house hawks indoors which is cheaper.
  • Care and feeding – Food, supplements, vet visits, and emergency care all add recurring costs of $500+ per year.

Now that you know the major cost factors, let’s break down the details around this bird of prey even more.

Ways to Reduce the Costs of Falconry

Red Tailed HawkFalconry is an investment, but there are ways to reduce costs:

  • Start with a more affordable species like a kestrel or Harris hawk.
  • Get a hawk from a rescue – prices are $200-$1,000 typically.
  • Build your own basic mews to save on housing.
  • Buy used equipment from other falconers.
  • Staff at raptor centers can help find discounted medical care.
  • DIY falconry gear and toys to enrich your hawk cheaply.
  • Trade care services with other falconers – share costs.
  • Take advantage of falconry association resources.
  • Hunt pest species that landowners will grant permission for.

While not cheap, falconry is tremendously rewarding. Don’t let the costs deter you from an ancient sport with an incredible community.

Is a Hawk Worth the Costs?

Only you can decide if owning a hawk is worth the substantial expenses involved. For many falconers, the joy of flying these incredible predators is priceless. There is simply no bond like that between a hawk and falconer.

If you’re willing to fully commit to your bird’s needs, the cost is 100% justified. Few other pets offer the thrill of the hunt, proficiency in flight, and mutual devotion.

Falconry also supports conservation. The community fuels research and protections for wild raptors. Your licensing fees and hawk purchases support captive breeding and repopulation efforts.

While not a casual pet, a hawk is a magnificent companion for the dedicated falconer. Do your homework, manage expectations on cost, and the investment will pay off many times over. The aerial acrobatics and loyalty of a trained hawk are second to none!

Keep in mind that you will also need a state falconry license before getting a hawk.

Alec Pow
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