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!

New On This Site

The Latest Comments

  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021
  • This breaks my heart. God strengthen your spirit and comfort your heart.I am fortunate to be taking a vacation next month, hopefully before sky high inflation hits and I can no longer afford it.
    by Ironweeds, Fri, 27 Aug 2021
  • What is emptying my jelly feeder overnight.
    by Gary Vandervest, Wed, 25 Aug 2021
  • Thank you, Dawn. I'm close enough to Ohio (Ann Arbor, Michigan) that I went ahead and took my tubes down and scoured clean all my bird baths. I won't put up my tubes this winter, just my trays and safflower only just to keep the bullies away for a while.
    by Pat Moore, Mon, 09 Aug 2021