The red-tailed hawk that’s been swooping down on people in leafy Stonington, CT, may have to be trapped and removed, says Len Soucy, a wildlife rehabilitator, founder of New Jersey’s Raptor Trust, and one of the world’s most experienced hawk experts.
“When there’s a nuisance hawk, I relocate it,” Soucy says, “so people don’t hate all the hawks on earth because one hawk is acting foolish.”
Soucy has the traps, permits and experience to trap a red-tailed hawk, but it’s still a last resort. The hawk is probably protecting his territory in advance of nesting season, which starts over the next couple months, he says. He might try to condition the hawk with loud noise first, a process that can take a while work.
Birders travel great distances to see hawks, but this particular CT hawk in will come directly to you. And then he’ll swoop at your head and maybe steal your hat or headphones, the Day reports. The bird has attacked five times since last summer, mostly on the cul de sac of Shawondasee Drive and Carriage Drive. The nearby Deans Mill School now has recess and gym inside, though, just in case.
Hawk attacks on people and pets may continue to rise along with the numbers of red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) . (They’re one of the many birds recovered thanks to bans on DDT and reactionary killing of birds of prey.) Soucy says he’s gotten two reports of similarly belligerent hawks in New Jersey this season. One hawk lifted a chihuahua puppy and broke his leg. The males, which are smaller, aren’t the only nuisances. Often the female will join in the attacks once the chicks hatch.
“Once the chicks are hatched, you’ll have a double dose.” Soucy says. “They’re just a pain in the ass.”