red winged blackbird attack

Dive-bombing season has officially begun for red-winged blackbirds in Toronto

It's that dreadful time of year once again — when an innocent stroll outside in Toronto means the possibility of coming face to face with a protective red-winged blackbird that won't hesitate to dive-bomb into your head in defence of its nests. 

Signs warning of nesting birds have already begun to pop up around the city, as the breeding season reaches a peak between mid-May to July. 

One particular male blackbird, nicknamed "Dive Bomber Dave" was even known for terrorizing the Liberty Village neighbourhood for the whole of summer 2020. His territorial antics (which included swooping down from trees and diving at innocent pedestrians) were well documented on a TikTok account dedicated to his name

While red-winged blackbirds are mostly harmless, a whole stretch of sidewalk in front of the King West Condominiums complex on East Liberty Street was roped off with police tape after several people were attacked in 2019

@divebomberdave Thank you, next 🦅 #divebomberdave #angrybirds #SummerVibes #canadabelike #summer2020 #bird #funny #comedyvideo ♬ thank u, next - Ariana Grande

The species is one of the most widespread birds in North America, and as its name suggests, males are all black with a red shoulder and yellow wing bar. Females are usually dark brownish overall and paler on the breast. 

Male blackbirds aren't afraid to make their presence known, and often perch in high places, such as trees, fences, and telephone lines, while females stay low and build their nests. 

@divebomberdave 🖐 #divebomberdave #funny #tiktok #tiktokanimals #bird #redwingblackbird ♬ Stop! Wait a Minute - Bruno Mars, Tik Tok

Their aggressive behaviour isn't limited to just humans, as males are also known to defend their territories from other animals. During the breeding season, males won't shy away from dive-bombing at just about anyone who comes a bit too close to their nesting territory. 

Although it's not clear if Dive Bomber Dave will be spending his summer residency in Liberty Village once again, it's definitely a good idea to be aware of your surroundings (especially when in close proximity to trees) if you frequently walk through the neighbourhood. 

Lead photo by

Patrice Bouchard

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