Everyone has a horror story about overprotective helicopter parents, but what do you do when you’re forced to deal with helicopter hawks?

That was the dilemma facing Coaldale residents when a protective pair of Swainson's hawks started dive-bombing residents near where they were nesting three newborns.

“I thought someone had come out from behind a tree and knocked me with a baseball bat,” said Coaldale resident Connie Smith, who was walking down the street when a hawk dive-bombed her. 


In an interview with CTV’s Terry Vogt, Smith added, “I looked up at a girl walking toward me and said, what just happened?


"She said you got hit by a bird.”

Another woman who witnessed the incident drove Smith to the hospital, where she was treated for eight small wounds, to her ear and head.

“And my neck and my jaw and shoulders were extremely sore from the impact of the bird,” Smith added.

After discovering there had been a number of other incidents of unsuspecting local residents being dive-bombed, Fish and Wildlife swooped in and solved the problem by offering the baby hawks a temporary shellter at the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale.

The three-week-old hawks are doing well, and demanding almost constant attention from the staff, said Birds of Prey Centre handler/interpretor Allyson Caroll.

Swainson’s hawks are common in southern Alberta, where they thrive on gophers and mice.

The trio of baby hawks already possess the strong legs and talons needed to catch and kill prey, Carroll said. 

They’ll be at the Birds of Prey Centre until they’re big enough to be releaased into the wild.

Carroll didn't exactly defend the helicopter hawks behavior, but admitted it's understandable.

“These parents of these birds are just like humans, they're very defensive of their young,” she said. “You can see they're pretty cute so I don't blame them. 

“They will defend their territory especially when they have newborns like these guys in their nest.”