A new resident of Liberty Village isn’t exactly getting off on the right foot with the locals.
A red-winged blackbird perched in a tree near Liberty Village Park has been dive-bombing anyone who walks too close to its nest.
Videos of locals being attacked by the bird have been posted on the Liberty Village Residents Association’s Facebook page.
“I was just assaulted in (Liberty Village),” one person wrote on the page after an encounter with the bird. “Be careful out there!”
Some have nicknamed the creature “dive-bomb Dave.”
A note written in chalk on the sidewalk where the bird frequents reads, “Watch out 4 the bird!!!”
It is not clear if there is more than one bird perpetrating the attacks.
Speaking with CP24 on Wednesday, an ornithologist with the Royal Ontario Museum said that the issue appears to be a “classic example” of a male red-winged blackbird protecting a nearby nest.
“He will call a little bit and you may hear him and not recognize what that is but if you get too close then he will swoop down and he may flutter by your head and occasionally he may hit you by mistake and maybe even on purpose but the real goal is to just get people to move away,” Mark Peck said. “I have been struck before and it doesn’t really hurt. You don’t want to stick around and see what more damage they can do but a red-winged blackbird weighs about the same as a tennis ball with feathers, so it is not something you really have to worry about.”
Peck said that red-winged blackbirds are more typically found in marshland habitats but have become more common in the urban landscapes in recent years.
Last summer, parks across the city even erected signs warning Torontonians about the protective animals.
“This time of year and for about five weeks males will vigorously defend their territory and dive-bomb Dave is probably an accurate name other than the name Dave,” he said. “Just be respectful of the bird’s space and mope away but enjoy it at the same time. This is a great opportunity to show kids what a red-winged blackbird looks like and how nature can be found all over the city if you are willing to look for it.”