• 61°

Town cautions walkers to look out for hawks at Centennial Park

GRANITE QUARRY — If you happen to be walking in the Centennial Park in Granite Quarry, watch out for hawks.

Red-tailed hawks have been nesting in the park for decades. A couple times during the year, they become quite territorial around their young.

The town recently posted a note on its website advising locals to mind the hawks when watching the trail because there have been reports of the birds swooping down on passersby. Someone once reported receiving talons to the head from an angry hawk.

The hawks are difficult to see up in the trees, but Public Works Director Jason Hord said they will typically let out a warning cry if you are getting too close for comfort. He said the best thing to do in that situation is walk the other way.

Jon C. Lakey/Salisbury Post file photo
At Centennial Park in Granite Quarry, red-tailed hawks, below, have been nesting in the park for years. A couple times of year they become quite territorial around their young. The town recently posted a note on its website advising locals to mind the hawks when watching the trail because there have been reports of the birds swooping down on passersby.

Town Manager Larry Smith said the birds of prey are protected so the town can not attempt to remove them, but it does put out hawk warning signs occasionally and lets people know they are out there.

“There are particular seasons they are more aggressive,” Smith said.

The birds are protected as a non-game species in the state with no open hunting season. It is illegal to harm them.

“There’s not a lot we can do about it because we’re in their house,” Hord said.

Hord said there is typically one report of a hawk diving on someone every time there are new baby birds, usually from anonymous people who observe them performing the defensive swoops. The birds nest so high up in the trees around the trail that town staff cannot tell they have started the defensive behavior until public works staff begins hearing calls or someone reports the issue.

Once the young are born, Hord said, people can sometimes see the hawks circling the tops of trees. He said they typically will not swoop down on people, but are very agitated during that period.

The hawks have even produced their own rumors, including that they may be more likely to swoop down on people if he or she are wearing sunglasses on top of their head. Hord said it also seems like victims are usually older people, but he said that may just account for more of the people walking the trail.

Lucky for people, while the hawks are terrors for mice, they do not pose much existential threat to humans. Adult birds only weigh a couple pounds and Hord said the worst injuries anyone has sustained from them on the trail were some scratches.

The behavior of the birds can vary too. A 1987 study on the behavior of red-tailed hawks at locations in six states and a Canadian province found differences in the way hawks defended their nests. Hawks studied in Saskatchewan were significantly more likely to dive defensively than birds studied in West Virginia and California.

The red-tailed hawk is the most commonly spotted hawk in North Carolina according to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Hord said the nests have occasionally attracted the interest of bird watchers who want to see the hawks at home.

Comments

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can homebound seniors be vaccinated?

Local

Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast

Local

‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury high, getting juvenile to help

Nation/World

With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department