Bird terrorizes trail users behind Parkview YMCA

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – For the past couple weeks, people utilizing a part of the Pufferbelly Trail behind the Parkview YMCA have been being attacked by a nesting bird.

Animal Care and Control officials said Red-winged blackbird mates have chosen the marshy area behind the playground as their nesting site. The female bird is incubating with the babies, and the male bird perches in a tree and swoops at any animal, bird, or human that he thinks poses a threat. The species normally nests low to the ground, so dozens of people running, walking, or biking by have fallen victim to an attack.

People who’ve gotten attacked said the bird will swoop down and peck the back of a person’s head. Most victims said it doesn’t hurt, but it is startling.

The nest can’t be moved because of national bird laws, but Animal Care and Control officials said if people want to avoid getting attacked, they should take a shortcut through the parking lot to bypass that portion of the trail. YMCA leaders also put up a sign by the area of the trail warning people of the danger.

“They are protected, so we need to just leave them alone and be respectful of their nest,” Amy Jo Sites, the Deputy Director of Fort Wayne’s Animal Care and Control, said.

However, the terror won’t last long. Sites said the bird’s nesting period is only around 28 days. She said her department started getting inquiries about the attack about two weeks ago, so this problem should be over by the end of June at the latest.

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