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Dive-bombing blackbirds have pedestrians ducking for cover in Montreal’s Old Port

Click to play video: 'Dive-bombing blackbirds have pedestrians ducking for cover in Montreal’s Old Port' Dive-bombing blackbirds have pedestrians ducking for cover in Montreal’s Old Port
WATCH: A pair of nesting birds in Montreal's Old Port have become a TikTok sensation and it's not because they are friendly. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, the birds have pedestrians running for cover – Jul 21, 2022

Residents of Sainte-André Street in Montreal’s Old Port feel like they’re living out a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds on a daily basis.

“They zoom by your head and peck at you,” resident Nelson Fortain said.

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A pair of nesting red-winged blackbirds are to blame. The pesky peckers have set up shop in a street corner tree and have been wreaking havoc on residents for weeks.

“I walked across the street unknowingly and got attacked on my head twice,” resident John Caplan said.

“It’s pretty bizarre because you don’t see anything else around you, then suddenly something is attacking your head.”

One of the most popular birds in North America, the blackbird is known to be highly territorial and aggressive when in mating and nesting season.

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A TikTok video of the swooping attacks has been making the rounds online.

The video captures unsuspecting pedestrians being attacked, with swarming and zooming just inches away from peoples’ heads.

Aya Chraibi, amused by the common occurrence of people running and flailing their hands in the air, filmed the interactions from her balcony.

“They are protecting their nest. Anyone who approaches the tree gets attacked,” Chraibi said.

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“They are not always like that,” said Zoe Lalonde, zoologist with Ecomuseum. “It is definitely a seasonal thing, defending their nest and their territory.”

Lalonde said the bird is known to be highly protective of its young and without fear of large animals — including humans.

“By any means necessary, they will defend their nest. Especially when the babies are born, they can get quite aggressive,” Lalonde said.

It’s safe to walk along Saint-André street now without the fear of being attacked, as it seems the nesting birds and their newborns have moved on.

Lalonde said they are not dangerous and their warning pecks will not harm you.

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She said that if confronted by a bird, you should give them space and avoid the area if you can.

“Try and give them room when they are raising their young and then eventually, they will be out of your hair. Then you can enjoy the space for the rest of the summer,” Lalonde said.

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