Dive bombing birds attack humans!
Occasionally while I sit on my patio, a bird will sit on a nearby tree branch and squawk at me. I’ve learned that this means the bird is unhappy with my presence, because the mother is nesting, nurturing her babies. I listen, and tell them I’m harmless, I’m not going to move off my patio, and they’d just better adjust to my presence.
No bird has ever attacked me.
As my husband and I traveled to Lakeside, Ohio, on June 13, 2010, I read several days worth of newspapers. There was an article about an angry flock of crows which had the audacity to attack the police in Everett, Washington.
The angry flock of birds were swooping down and dive-bombing the officers as they walk(ed) to and from their cars. One police officer tried to scare the velociraptors by turning on his siren, to which the birds responded by decorating his car with droppings. Crows, allegedly, have face recognition, and if angered, remember the face. But they apparently cannot distinguish one police officer uniform from another.
Because the police learned that the birds, which are very protective of their young, are simply protecting baby crows that have been kicked out of the nest and are learning to fly, they left the crows alone while waiting out the aggression.*
When we arrived at the peaceful community of Lakeside, Ohio, I didn’t imagine the scene I witnessed the last day I was there, while strolling down Maple Street toward the lake. I saw a somewhat balding white-haired man with his long hair pulled back in a retro pony tail. He was running on a sidewalk between a hotel and its parking lot, passing under an arch formed by two short trees. His hand brushing over his scalp. A woman with shorter-than-shoulder length full-bodied hair followed. As she passed under the trees, a bird dive-bombed her. It flew into the tree when she entered the parking lot, where it sat flapping its wings and creating quite a fuss. I pulled out my camera, cautiously stepped on the sidewalk, and snapped its picture:
I hadn’t seen the bird dive bomb the man, but he called out to me that as a photographer, I should take a picture of the sign. He had read it as he ran from the bird that had dive-bombed him.
When we returned home, I was on my patio with a several friends, telling them these stories. One lives in my community of Laurel Mountain Borough, Pennsylvania, population census 189. She has a daughter living here too.
A few days previously mother and daughter found a baby bird that apparently fell out of its nest. Her daughter decided to gently pick it up and set it on a tree limb. As she did so, two blue jays dive-bombed her. They were apparently the parents of the baby bird, and were teaching it how to fly. And, again, they were very protective.
A newspaper essay that day read: While sitting at the computer checking news and e-mails, there was a noise on the deck…four baby blue jays, now barely fitting in the nest their parents built on the top log under the eaves of the house, were standing up.
A few hours later, a commotion drew attention to two cats sitting at the bottom of the deck area, staring up where the babies had been. While the nest was empty, there were no telltale feathers or other evidence that the youngsters had met with foul play.
Baby jays can’t really fly immediately, so there was some cause for concern. But one of the parents was nearby, diligently keeping watch.
One cat successfully was lured away from the nest by the promise of a treat. The other faced the wrath of a parent bird, who was making bizarre noises and practically diving on the cat’s head, at one point barely 2 feet away.
The parent bird kept the babies safe.
I guess the moral of this story concerns parenting: are we humans not, as parents, just as protective of our children? Would we not “dive bomb” someone who tried to harm our babies?
Should we expect any less from the birds and other animals in nature?
And aren’t we appalled when a parent harms, or even kills, their offspring? Perhaps they have something to learn from the birds.
Be patient with the birds—and wear a hat if you are at risk. They are only protecting their babies.