FAIRFIELD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Bird watchers in New York City love to see the occasional hawk, but it’s a different story in one upscale Connecticut town.
Residents in Fairfield say the birds of prey have become a menace.
Three times in the last month a hawk, like the one CBS 2’s Mark Morgan saw on Tuesday, has swooped down from the sky and attacked a person on the ground with its sharp talons.
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams On The Story
The birds have a nest high in a tree right in front of Fairfield Ludlowe High School.
The first victim was riding her bike, without a helmet, on Winton Road right across the street from the school, when the attack came out of the blue.
“Felt like a cinder block falling on my head. I was knocked off my bike, went to the ground, picked myself up, looked up and I saw this hawk flying away from my head,” Elizabeth Cross said.
Cross suffered scratches to her head. Milan Bull of the Connecticut Audubon Society told Morgan he thinks the birds are red-tailed hawks and he said this level of aggression is rare.
“It’s rare that red-tailed hawks become aggressive on their territory, but it does happen. This particular pair became aggressive last year defending a nest that was right next to the high school. And now, although it’s early in the nesting season, they’re setting up their territory and are becoming aggressive towards people who are coming close to the nest,” Bull said.
“They’re trying to send a warning, but they will make contact. It’s a brief contact, but it’s a very surprising contact when you get in the back of the head with a couple pounds of red-tailed hawk,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams on Tuesday.
Two students at the high school have also been attacked. Officials there released the following statement: “Please be assured that there have been no injuries and the number of students who have been impacted are minimal.”
The attacks may be few, but students are concerned.
“Yeah I am … Scary. They’re big. They’re huge,” Ali Gorab said.
“Basically when you go outside you look up at the trees knowing something could happen. You see them all over the place,” Brianna Long added.
“I have no idea what to do,” added parent Dru Georgiadis.
With these hawks being a protected species, there is no easy solution. And until then everyone will keep their eye on the sky.
Officials in Fairfield are looking for ways to safely remove the nest. They want to make sure the birds are taken care of and at the same time allow people to enjoy the area again.
Have you ever been attacked by a hawk? Share your story in the comments section below!