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Police Locate Northport Hawks Attacking People

By Rupert Deedes

Northport police using drones have finally located the nest of the hawks that have been dive bombing and attacking people in downtown Northport.

More and more hawks are nesting on Long Island, resulting in a growing number of encounters with people. Hawks normally stay away from people because human beings are too large to be hunted, but hawks behave differently during the nesting season, attacking people who are viewed as a threat to the hawks’ nests - their fledgling hawks, called "eyas".

The female hawk stays in the nest to protect the eggs, while the mail buzzes the approaching person in an effort to chase him or her away. If this does not work, the hawk attacks people with its sharp beak and claws, and can cause injuries serious enough to require medical attention.

In the last two weeks of March, there were reports from Northport of hawk attacks on Main Street, Church Street, and Scudder Avenue in Northport. But sporadic hawk attacks have been reported all over Northport since last summer.

The hawk attacks have become frequent enough for the Northport Police and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to deploy drones to try to find the hawks' nests.

Last week, a police surveillance drone located a red-tailed hawk's nest belonging to one of the culprits - a hawk that has been attacking people in Northport.

The next steps will be to capture the hawk and its mate in the coming days, and they will be released in the wild. The eggs will be incubated, and the baby eyas, once old enough, will be released back to the wild as well.

Experts say that when a hawk is buzzing you, you should turn around and slowly walk away, because you are too close to the hawk’s nest. It is important, even as you retreat, to maintain constant eye contact with the hawk: Hawks have excellent vision and they recognize people’s (and prey’s) eyes: they never attack frontally, but only from the back. Maintaining constant eye contact should deter the hawk from attacking.


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