(Not) Forgotten Greenpoint: Transmitter Park – Attack of the Killer… Mockingbirds?

© National Georgraphic

Okay, “killer” is an exaggeration. A reader wrote in to tell us a funny, but at the same time a little frightening story about her recent run in with an aggressive bird in Transmitter Park. The part about other birds that hang out to watch the action really got me laughing:

“I go to Transmitter Park a lot, it’s very close to my office. On one such visit about a month ago as I walked into the entrance that’s closest to the children’s playground a bird tried to land on my head (at least this is what I thought was happening). Without seeing it, I swatted near my head and turned around just in time to see the bird fly away. I totally thought it was a random, one off thing.

I went back today – walked through the same entrance and this time there was a bird sitting there on the fence as if it was waiting for me – and I’m not kidding. The bird looked at me, I looked at the bird and I knew what was about to happen. I walking quickly away with my dog and the bird proceeded to follow me – again trying to land on my head basically chasing me out of the area. I later figured out and actually witnessed from seeing this happen to another person that the bird doesn’t necessarily want to land on your head but it does want to let you know it’s there by brushing up against your head.

At this point I get out of the area as quickly as possible – run into a guy who said he saw the same thing happen to someone else. Then a few minutes later I also saw it happen to another person. A lady walks in, bird spots her and swoops in and skids off the top of her head.

After getting a good look at the bird and doing some quick research I found out that they’re Northern Mockingbirds and they can get aggressive and territorial when there is a nest in the area – they seriously do not mess around. Check this out from Wikipedia:

The birds aggressively defend their nests and surrounding areas against other birds and animals.[19] When a predator is persistent, mockingbirds that are summoned by distinct calls from neighboring territories may join the attack. Other birds may gather to watch as the mockingbirds harass the intruder. In addition to harassing domestic cats and dogs they consider a threat,[9] it is not unheard of for mockingbirds to target humans. The birds are absolutely unafraid and will attack much larger birds, even hawks. One famous incident in Tulsa, Oklahoma involving a postal carrier resulted in the distribution of a warning letter to residents.[20]

In this post you can watch videos of a mockingbird attacking a human, a hawk AND a cat.

There is a wooded area by the entrance near the children’s playground and I believe there is a nest in one of the trees and that’s why the birds are acting out. I have had a few good laughs over this (after feeling a little freaked out that I just got my butt kicked by a small bird…more than once) but in all seriousness there are a lot of kids in that area and while it’s not likely they would sustain any serious injury – you never know. Aside from the kids, many unsuspecting people walk through that entrance – and are basically moving targets!”

While I’m a bird lover, I am not surprised at this behavior. I also have been attacked and thrown to the ground by a 30lb Wild Turkey  guarding it’s chick and my cat was seriously attacked by a Blue Jay, which literally made a hole in his head. When they are protecting their young, this reader is right: birds don’t mess around.

Has anyone else been bullied by an aggressive bird?

About Jen G

After living in NYC my entire life, I found the strongest sense of community in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Running this blog is truly an honor and the best part is meeting its readers in real life. Everyday I am energized by smiles and inspiring conversations with fellow Greenpointers who tirelessly do and create incredible things that are good for our community and share the same love I have for life here. If you see me walking with my little dog "D" - please say hi!