It’s that time of year again in Toronto — the season when sunny strolls may get interrupted by an attacking red-winged blackbird.
Residents near Humber Bay Shores have reported dive bombs already at the west end park, with at least one territorial bird located near the Sunnyside Pavilion.
The birds generally dive bomb people because they’re defending their nests. The aggressive behaviour usually subsides after nesting season is over, according to Bird Studies Canada.
The City of Toronto has placed signs in several parks warning people about aggressive red-winged blackbirds. The signs have appeared in Budapest Park, Lake Shore Boulevard Parklands, Little Norway, and the Toronto Music Garden.
The city’s most famous red-winged black bird, Dive Bomb Dave of Liberty Village, even has its own TikTok account where a nearby resident captures videos of the bird attacking passersby who get too close to its nest.
@divebomberdave😇 🦅 ##divebomberdave ##LaughPause ##angrybirds ##comedyvideo ##summer2020 ##bird ##funny ##backyardvibes ##canadabelike♬ Angel Of The Morning – Juice Newton
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A local artist started selling Dive Bomb Dave greeting cards this year, and earlier this spring donated the proceeds she’d made from them to the Parkdale Food Bank. Some of the cards are still available through her Etsy page.
Red-winged blackbirds typically incubate their eggs for about two weeks, and the chicks can stay in the nest for another 12 days after that, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation. During that time, the male birds will fiercely defend them.
Until the young birds fly away on their own, it’s probably safest to avoid the nests.