What to do when birds swoop down on you . . .

Human-wildlife confrontations increase in the spring and summer when animals, focused on caring for their young, are more visible.

What can we do to accommodate hawks, owls or mockingbirds concerned about our close proximity to their babies?

Dive-bombing birds can be a frightening experience, and a raptor with inch-long talons can be intimidating, but it’s usually just a bluff to scare off intruders.

All native, wild birds have legal protection. It is unlawful to kill, harass or possess a wild bird or its nest. But learning to peacefully coexist with wildlife is also the right thing to do.

1. Accommodate the birds by making the nest area off-limits for a while is the neighborly thing to do.

2. If that isn’t possible, carry an umbrella or wear a hat.

3. And wear eyes on the back of your head. No kidding. Birds are discouraged from striking when they are being watched, so they usually swoop from behind.

Download and print this large pair of eyes, and tape it to the back of your hat.

Remember, like us, these birds are just doing their best to protect their young, and your inconvenience is only a temporary thing. Rather than getting your feathers ruffled, feel fortunate that you live in a place where you can awaken to a symphony of birdsong and observe nesting behavior right outside your front door. Just don’t forget to wear your hat.


 St. Francis Wildlife Association