Northport

Hawk Attacks 17 Humans in 2 Years, Rattling Long Island Community

Environmental officials recommend those getting confronted by a hawk to wave their arms and make loud noises — and if that fails, just duck

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A dangerous bird is said to be on the prowl on Long Island, as police say a local red-tailed hawk has attacked at least 17 people since just 2020 — and those who live in the area say the problem is only getting worse.

One of those attacked, Eric Preis, said it happened to him right in his own backyard, in Northport. The attacker, Preis said, nests in the trees there, and has an "incredible" wingspan.

Another victim of the hawk, Siobhan Gerold, captured video of the bird right before the aerial assault from the flying fiend.

"When I turned around I felt a huge thud on the back of my head and it threw me to the floor," Gerold said.

Preis and Gerold are just two of 17 people the village mayor says have reported a hawk attack in the past two years — seven of whom have required medical attention.

"People are just jogging by or walking and the bird just swoops down and tries to hit them in the head," Mayor Donna Koch said. That's a problem for Northport, where people are walking or jogging every day.

"This has been progressively getting worse," a village trustee said, adding that federal and state environmental officials have been called in to help.

In Aug. 2021, they captured a juvenile red-tailed hawk and relocated the bird to Suffolk County. But the attacks have continued.

Environmental officials recommend those getting confronted by a hawk to wave their arms and make loud noises — and if that fails, just duck.

Most believe the hawk is simply protecting its nest, and new efforts are underway to trap and remove the bird that is federally protected.

"Keep it away from us so nobody else gets hurt," said one village resident.

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