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Hawks dive-bombing Bradenton condo residents

10:43 AM, Apr 17, 2013   |    comments
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BRADENTON, Florida (AP) - Like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock's classic movie "The Birds," two red-shouldered hawks have been dive-bombing residents of a retirement community along Florida's Gulf Coast.

The Bradenton Herald reported that some residents of Cortez Villas are using umbrellas to protect their heads from a pair of hawks that are nesting a fledgling in a 40-foot tree.

One woman received a four-inch scratch on her scalp. Another had to go to the hospital and get a rabies shot. A third was attacked when she went to her mailbox.

"I was bending down to pick up my paper and something hit me on the head," said Bev Brasgalla, whose scalp was scratched. "I looked up and saw the hawk fly away. I bent down again and it came back."

Marti Clark, an officer of the Cortez Villas Condominium Owners Association, said something has to be done to protect residents.

"One lady down the street had to go to the hospital," Clark said. "She was given rabies shots and antibiotics."

Residents are also worried about their dogs, she said.

"I talked on the phone to a biologist with (the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission), and she said they would attack small dogs and could carry away one weighing around 3 pounds," Clark said.

Residents, however, are just going to have to live with the hawks until the fledgling leaves the nest.

The birds are a protected species and it's a federal penalty to destroy the nest.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Gary Morse said that this kind of behavior is common for hawks at this time of year.

Resident Bob Teates and his wife, Sheila, watch the birds' antics through their condo windows.

"My wife heard noises in the back room and thought it was the computer," Bob Teates said. "When she went into the room one of the hawks kept flying into the window."

Teates said his son and wife were visiting Sunday and sitting in the living room when one flew under the porch overhang and into the front glass storm door, he said.

His wife also was attacked, Bob Teates said, and when she came into the house a bead of blood dripped down her forehead.

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