This Swainson's Hawk may appear to be a friendly bird — but it's struck fear into the hearts of postal workers in Calgary. The bird has been attacking mail carriers, because their movements, darting from house to house without stopping, seem like a predator scoping the area.
This has been going on for years, with different hawks, but it's become a real problem once again lately. Yesterday, the Calgary Herald published an interview with superintendent Rick Tobin, who's been forced to work a particular mail route himself, and use a tennis racket for protection. Tobin tells the Herald:
I am the gentleman who walks with the tennis racket. The whole purpose of the tennis racket is to put it straight up in the air so if the bird does swoop, it will misjudge itself. It goes for your high point. It would hit my tennis racket before it hit me. It’s never come at me with its claws out, its claws have always been tucked behind. Every carrier who has come out to assist me in delivery has enjoyed their experience. They have enjoyed watching the bird — because usually they’re new and the bird only focuses on me — so they enjoy that experience.
Do you have any idea why the hawks are targeting mail carriers?
Totally. We have a pattern walk. We’re like a predator; we’re walking through, we don’t go into the houses or stay anywhere. We go in to check it out and we come back out and move onto the next one, just the way a predator would walk around looking for stuff.
[Thanks for the heads up, Danny!]