Some senior citizens in a neighborhood in Manatee County are afraid to even walk out their front doors. Two hawks in the Cortez Villas senior neighborhood are protecting the babies in their nest by dive bombing people walking by, or just out getting the mail.
The behavior is natural instinct for the hawks.
Resident Beverly Brasgalla says she was hit by a hawk three times and ended up with a scratch on her head. Brasgalla's driveway is right under the nest and now her umbrella is her only protection.
"It was like this big 'boomf' and I looked up in time to see it go up in the tree," Brasgalla recounted to FOX 13. "Shook my head, bent back down and got me again."
Brasgalla says she was hit a third time the next day.
People have started keeping umbrellas at their front doors, like Judy Coker. One of the Red-shouldered hawks also got her, while she was walking to her car. Coker wound up at the hospital getting a tetanus shot.
"It felt like I was hit in the head by a basketball or something. That was about how hard she hit," Coker told us.
The homeowners' association is worried that in a neighborhood of seniors, someone could really get hurt. But the birds are a protected species, and legally, the nest must stay put. The association is trying to get a special permit, though, to have the nest taken down once it's inactive. Otherwise, the hawks, by instinct, are likely to come back.
"People are not taking their dogs out and walking them, because now we are realizing that the pair of them are really quite aggressive," Coker said.
The hawks are not easily intimidated. They are known to dive bomb animals as small as little dogs or as a large as a horse.