Oct 21, 2020 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, October 2019

Ask Birdsquatch: Angry Birds!

Are ducks likely to act aggressively? Birdsquatch, our hariest columnist, says no!

Dear Birdsquatch:

My girlfriend lives in a apartment complex next to a river where there are lots of ducks. The management of the complex left the following note on the exit doors of the complex:

"ANGRY BIRDS!! The angry birds are back!! Please be careful!! These birds are protected, so we cannot injure them. They like to come at your head."

Is this an Alfred Hitchcock movie come to life? What kind of birds are these and why would they attack?

—Nervous Boyfriend (Dennis B.) Waukesha, Wisconsin

Dear Dennis,

Are the residents of your girlfriend's condo in the habit of vaulting the birds toward cartoon pigs? If so, your girlfriend is living inside a video game! But if not, it's likely that the angry birds are mockingbirds, robins, jays, or some other wild songbird that has a nest nearby and is compelled to defend it. That would explain the seasonality of the sign. I doubt that it is ducks that are attacking people.

Robins, jays, and mockers are notorious for their aggression, especially during breeding season. Robins have been known to defend bird feeders, too, and blue jays will peck humans in the head if they approach a nestling that has fallen to the ground, unable to fly. I once had a run-in with a mockingbird that I'll never forget: I had no idea that its nest was tucked inside the blueberry bush that was the object of my desire. I bet I was 20 feet away when the mocker started making a fuss. Not knowing any better, I continued toward the luscious orbs. I was at least 10 feet from that bush when the mockingbird slammed me in the head. Of course, I ducked and covered, but it came at me again and again! Forlorn at the prospect of blueberries denied, I backed off to a safe distance, but stuck around to figure out why that bird took such a dislike to me. When it dove into an opening and I heard baby bird noises, I figured it out.

Being almost seven feet tall and covered with soft, dense, attractive fur, I'm generally not afraid of songbirds. It's usually the other way around. But when they get defensive of their food source, nest, or near-fledgling, it is wise to give them as much space as they demand.

About Birdsquatch

Birdsquatch is WBB's tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist. He is a bigfoot who has watched birds all his life. His home range is unknown.

What do you think? Tell us!

comments powered by Disqus

New On This Site

The Latest Comments

  • How long do other seeds stay fresk? Sunflower seeds? Millet? Safflower?
    by Sue, Sat, 06 Feb 2021
  • I understand that the ducks' blood vessel arrangement in their feet is to provide the benefits of the counter-current heat exchanger mechanism; returning cold venous blood from the feet is warmed by the descending warm arterial blood, preventing excess heat loss by the feet and avoiding cold blood from chilling the body. This means that the feet are cold, not warm.
    by Frank Barch, Sat, 02 Jan 2021
  • I have the same situation. The feeder is attached to the middle of a large picture window that goes ceiling to floor w/ no ledge or sill for animals to climb or balance. Yet every morning all the sunflower seeds have been cracked open and hulls left. Any ideas what it is?
    by Liza Fox, Sun, 15 Nov 2020
  • I have a bird feeder that sticks to my window and I've been hearing noises against the window at night right now its going on. But whatever it is it is aware of me. And when I get to window it leaves.I can't imagine a squirrel or mouse or possom being able to get at it. ...So as I was reading this article im to assume no bird eats at night. Or no birds will eat at night. Why is that? Then im also thinking of a sinereo that could a lost confused bird eat at night. This eating thing is watching meI turn out the light go there noise dissappears..Thank you.
    by Nosferatu, Thu, 05 Nov 2020
  • I have metal baffles (cones) on my pole for my bird feeders. Something is still tempting them at night. What else could it be? Deer???
    by Ella Spencer Connolly, Thu, 27 Aug 2020