Residents of Liberty Village are walking a little faster and covering their heads after an aggressive bird was spotted attacking unsuspecting pedestrians.
Those walking near Liberty Village Park on Wednesday told CTV News Toronto that at least one red-winged blackbird appears to have taken over the area.
The bird has been seen dive-bombing on people walking for several weeks now, according to residents.
“There is a nest nearby and because of that his role in the whole breeding cycle here is to make sure that no one gets too close to the nest or any predators come in close contact with the nest,” Mark Peck, a bird expert with the Royal Ontario Museum, said on Wednesday.
“The male’s responsibility is to look after that territory and defend it.”
Resident Iana Balkina said she has been attacked four times. She noted that the attacks are “not painful” but said “it’s really scary.”
“(The bird) just attacked me from my back and I was just like ‘what happened?’” she said. “I didn’t even know this was a bird.”
Another resident, Erik Sjoholm, who was walking his dog near the park on Wednesday morning, said it was the first time he has taken that route in a week after he was attacked by the bird.
Before confirming the situation with neighbours, Sjoholm admitted he thought he had imagined the attack.
“The insight from the neighbours was if you wore a hat it wouldn’t happen so I wore a hoodie and it did happen, so I guess a hoodie is not a hat to the bird,” he said with a laugh.
Along East Liberty Street a warning has been written to residents saying, “watch out for the bird.”
This is not the first time red-winged blackbirds have made enemies in the city.
Parks across the city had signs warning Toronto residents of the protective animals last summer.
At the time, a spokesperson with the City of Toronto, Jane Arbour, told The Canadian Press that is not unusual for red-winged blackbirds to be aggressive toward humans during mating season.
She said the threat typically passes once mating season is over.