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Hitchcock’s Bird Nightmare Coming True

So you’re walking down the street on your way to work enjoying the scenery and all of a sudden, a bird loudly swoops out of the sky and barely misses the top of your head.

While this may sound like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds, it’s actually that time of year when bird “attacks” are on the rise.

Any bird enthusiast knows that the reason of these so-called attacks around the country is easily attributed to the protective nature of birds while raising their young.

During spring and early summer, birds’ eggs are hatching and nestlings are growing. This is when some bird species are most aggressive because they are adamant on protecting their young from intruders. And yes, even people.

A quick search around the web shows this is taking place around the country, like the grackles attacking anyone in a parking lot in Florida and Red-shouldered Hawks gashing heads.

While this trend might point to birds becoming more aggressive toward humans, it’s actually an indication that the diminishing amount of natural nesting habitats in isolated areas due to neighborhood expansions and deforestation is forcing birds to nest in highly populated areas.

Birds are naturally aggressive when an animal approaches their nest, so they’ve always tried to nest in safer areas. As the locations of these examples demonstrate (in parking lots, on city streets and near golf courses), the safe space for birds is becoming limited.

The blame should not fall completely on the birds that are simply protecting their babies. Some things people can do to help minimize the risk of divebombing birds is to note the existence of nests and warn people to either go around that vicinity or use extreme caution when going through.

The types of birds that tend to swoop down on humans are grackles, mockingbirds, crows, blue jays and gulls. If you see a nesting area with one of these birds, observe it from a distance and never try to approach it for a closer look.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.


  1. […] I wrote a few months ago, birds seem to attack more often because their natural habitat is being invaded by humans and there are fewer secluded […]

  2. […] attempt by the crows to protect their young in nearby nests. As I blogged about a few months ago, bird “attacks” are fairly common on humans and other […]

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