GR’s Aggressive Red-Winged Blackbirds Are Back!
And the Grand Rapids Parks Department is posting about how to avoid their wrath, so you should heed their advice!
It's Red-Winged Blackbird Season Again
From now until late June, the red-winged blackbirds along the Grand Rover will be highly protective of their nests, in which their young are raised. They do not like people, and if you've ever felt their wrath, you won't like them all that much, either.
To that end, the Grand Rapids Parks Department posted some fake tweets as the nasty birds, offering tips on how to avoid getting pecked. You would do well to listen.
The Birds Are Just Being Proactive, But If You're In The Way, Look Out!
The Red Winged Blackbird builds their nest usually in low lying shrubbery, rather than up in a tree, so that leaves the nest open to predators, which is what it thinks you are. So when you walk by, it will give you a peck on the back of the head to keep you moving along.
The most likely place in Grand Rapids to encounter a red winged blackbird is the area along North Monroe from the skate park to the Sixth Street Bridge, but they can pop up anywhere downtown, near the fish ladder, on the campus of Grand Valley State University both downtown and Allendale (maybe they should change their nickname) and on several area golf courses.
Just Stay Away From Their Favorite Spots And You Should Be Fine
Here are some the tips provided by the Parks Department to avoid the wrath of Red Winged Blackbirds:
• Give plenty of distance between yourself and the nest whenever possible.
• Take an alternate route
• Wear a hat when walking through a nesting area
• Keep in mind that when we're in parks, we're sharing territory with wildlife
Grand Rapidians Share Their Frustrations Of "The A**hole Birds"
In a recent online discussion of the 'Angry Birds' in the Grand Rapids subreddit, residents shared some of their experiences.
Back in 2018 I saw a dude absolutely get his world rocked by one of these birds in the parking lot of the Downtown Market
If you do find yourself being attacked, turn toward them. They usually only attack from behind. Don't make direct eye contact though, or they will suck your soul out of your body.
When I went to Grand Valley, I would ride my bike to campus from the off-campus apartments. On Campus Drive, I routinely got swooped on and attacked by a super territorial red-winged blackbird who was nesting in a tree near the roadside. I had to fend it off with my helmet at one point. After that particular incident I rode against traffic…for safety. Didn’t take long for the university to put up a sign warning of the bird. I can’t imagine how they managed to put it up.
They’re super territorial. I’ve had red winged blackbirds nest in my backyard tree and they’d go nuts every time I go in my garden.
They are assholes, but they're only doing what they think they need to do to protect their nest. The little fuckers are pretty fearless too, they'll take on an eagle or hawk. I wonder if there's some kind of sonar that would keep them away?
Red winged blackbirds are native and protected under the Migratory Bird Act. They can only be taken if they are doing harm to agricultural areas.
My buddy and I used to skate over by fish ladder and those birds would attack us like crazy! It was always funny though, they never did any harm. Just swoop down and swat at us and fly away. Funny little things.
That last guy is absolutely correct. I have been attacked many times biking to and from work, and generally as soon as I'm out of their territory, they'll back off. If you get pecked, just keep moving away from them.
"They're not singling people out," Parks Department spokesperson Sawyer Johnson told WZZM-13 News, "they're just perceiving people as a threat to their territory and to their young."
"Stay on the opposite side of the path and as far away from them as you can to kind of limit ant contact with them," Johnson advised. "You can also wave your arms to shoo them away, or wear a hat if you want some added protection."
WZZM-13 posted this funny video a few years ago of people getting attacked downtown, and it shows how quickly the attack ends, and how little damage the annoying peckers do. It's just that their sneaky little buggers and you can't see the attack coming.
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