SOUTHLAKE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A pair of seemingly angry birds have people ducking, dodging and generally avoiding a section of sidewalk in Southlake in order to stay away from the sudden aerial attacks.
Walkers, runners and bikers have reported run-ins with the birds, identified as Mississippi Kites, since late May in the Timarron neighborhood off E. Continental Blvd.
While many of the attacks are just fly-bys, some people have had the birds run right into them, and witnesses have seen them draw blood.
Kites will commonly defend their nests in that fashion according to Sam Kieschnick, an urban wildlife biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.
The behavior can last a month or longer, until the chicks are able to leave the nest and the parents move on.
Once the nest is established though, federal law protects the birds.
“You can do things to discourage them from nesting in the area, but once they have a nest with eggs you can’t legally touch it,” said Brad Hazelton, the bird curator at the Fort Worth Zoo. “So you just have to let nature run its course at that point.”
Vamsi Alla said he had seen social media posts about the bird attacks, but didn’t realize they were along his regular running path when he went out in May.
“It was coming so fast, and before I realized to duck, it just went over me. And again I turned, and it came back again,” he said.
Lou Romano said he had been hit by the medium sized grey and white bird a couple of times.
“You don’t see it approaching you. You don’t hear it, and all of a sudden you get hit in the head, pretty good,” he said. “Felt like someone threw a softball and hit me in the head.”
Kieschnick said wearing a large hat can help keep kites away, or even using an umbrella.
While the behavior ends after the chicks leave the nest, Hazelton said they can return to the same location again later.