San Diego Family Fears More Hawk Attacks

By Paul Bacigalupo

Jul 23, 2013 6:00am

A few weeks ago, Dr. Alexander Ataii went to clip a hedge from a tree in his San Diego backyard when he felt something hit him from behind.

“It felt like the biggest rock hit me in the head,” said Ataii. “I turned around and I saw a bird with a giant wingspan at my face.”

Ataii said it was a hawk, and that it sliced the back of his head open – a four- to five-inch gash.

The attack on Ataii wasn’t the last attack the hawk had in him. The following day, Ataii said, his gardener was attacked by the hawk and that neighbors have also seen hawks flying through the community.

Ataii  suspects there is a nest above the tree in his yard, and he is afraid for his 2-year-old son, who plays in the yard every day.

But it might not be so easy to get rid of the hawk.

Attaii believes he can hire someone to get rid of the nest, though he said when he spoke to unspecified authorities about removing the hawk he was told there were restrictions.

Apprentice falconer Denise Disharoon of West Coast Sky Falconry told ABCNews.com that hawks and their nests are protected under the Migratory Bird Act.

“Legally, [Ataii] is not allowed to mess with the birds or babies,” Disharoon said. “The only step he can take is to wait until the babies have left the nest, then apply for a deprivation permit to remove the nest.”

Disharoon said it is currently nesting season and that hawks are native to Ataii’s San Diego neighborhood.

“Hawks get defensive to protect their babies and their nest,” Disharoon said. “The hawk probably reacted to protect its babies.”

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