Noe Valley Residents Complain of Assaults... By Birds

Small black sparrows have been "attacking" dogs and people in Noe Valley.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Some Noe Valley birds are getting quite territorial, dive-bombing the heads of passersby. (Published Friday, Jul 6, 2012)

    San Francisco’s Noe Valley is under siege from above.

    For the past three months, a pair of kamikaze black birds has taken to dive-bombing unsuspecting victims who cross their turf near 24th and Church.

    The random tag-team assaults have left neighbors and workers in the area on edge.

    “Every time you’re walking up this street, they unexpectedly will come and poke you on the back of the head,” said Adriana Argueta, who has intimate knowledge of the assaults.

    Neighbors said the birds are merely protecting their nests although the months of attacks have worn thin through the neighborhood.

    “I appreciate that they need to guard their nest,” said Aaron Zamost who lives in a house next to the birds hangout. “Except the nest isn’t in the tree anymore so I’m not really sure what they’re doing.”

    San Francisco’s Animal Care and Control posted signs throughout the neighborhood warning people to beware of the birds.

    In the meantime, neighbors have adopted a variety of defense strategies including: running with a purse or bag over one’s head; running while flailing arms wildly; or just plain running.

    “We cross the street and we walk on the other side of the sidewalk,” said Arguetta, nervously eyeing one of the birds. “But I’ve heard stories from people in the neighborhood -- the bird crosses the street.”

    In fact, a news reporter witnessed a three-time attack victim gingerly cross the street from the birds, only to be pecked in the head on the other side.

    “The first time it’s so confusing,” said victim Alison Dagenais. “You’re like, what just happened? Did someone just throw a stick at my head?”

    Three months ago, neighbors thought the attacking birds were cute, maybe even downright funny. But Zamost said no one’s laughing anymore. “Hey animal control, get rid of the birds,” he pleaded.