Several people say they have been attacked by what experts say is a Swainson’s hawk in Calgary’s Victoria Park neighbourhood over the past week, which is creating concern for people who frequent the area.
“It felt like a baseball or Frisbee hit the back of my head really hard,” said Jessica Woody, one of the people who was targeted by the hawk.
“I looked up and the hawk was coming off the top of my head and flying into the tree, kitty-corner from our parking lot. It punctured the back of my head and it bled.”
Woody is one of several people who say they’ve experienced aggressive swooping.
She and her co-worker believe people should be warned about the threat of an attack.
“I think there should be signs up and people should know about it, especially with Stampede coming up,” Rachel Anderson said.
According to an email from the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, the bird in question is the same hawk that was reported to have attacked people during Stampede 2016.
The hawk is protected under the Alberta Wildlife Act. Anyone who removes or harasses the hawk can be held criminally responsible.
“Not much can be done about it, other than putting up some signs warning passersby about the nesting activity,” Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society animal care operations manager Jenna McFarland wrote in an email.
McFarland expects the behaviour will happen until mid-July, when the hawk babies move out from the nest.