Hawks Hanging Around Bird Feeders
The Cooper’s hawk and sharp-shinned hawk occasionally hunt birds at feeders. They are attracted to the feeder because of the concentration of food, but in this case, the food is the birds themselves. Although no one likes to see one of “their” birds killed by a hawk, on a population level hawks have little, if any, negative effect. The number of hawks present is very low compared to the number of smaller birds at a feeder, and their hunting success is low. Hawks are a natural part of the ecosystem and signify a healthy environment. In addition, watching a hawk hunt at a feeder is an exciting drama to behold.
All that being said, the best way to protect songbirds from raptors is to provide cover for them with a well planted yard. This gives smaller birds a place to hide if a hawk is nearby. If a hawk has been hanging around, you can also take down the feeders for a couple days. The hawk will eventually look elsewhere for food.