If you see this majestic-looking bird in the Hudson Valley you're going to want to keep your distance.

Over the past few decades, the population of Red-Tailed Hawks has increased in the Hudson Valley. These beautiful raptors can be seen throughout the region sitting quietly on fence posts or trees stalking their prey. Suddenly, out of nowhere the hawk will spring into action and swoop down and pounce on a mouse, squirrel or rabbit.

While these birds of prey usually appear to be uninterested in humans, they can turn violent quickly, attacking a person who is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Are Red-Tailed Hawks aggressive?

There are hundreds of stories about Red-Tailed Hawks terrorizing homeowners who can't even leave their house without being attacked by these birds. One especially violent hawk is currently holding a small New York town hostage, violently attacking 17 people over the past two years.

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Hudson Valley residents have reported seeing Red-Tailed Hawks swoop down and hit humans, either grabbing at them with their sharp talons or pecking at their heads. These massive birds can cause serious harm in just a matter of seconds.

Why do they attack?

If a Red-Tailed Hawk is attacking you, there's usually a good reason. Most of the time, these hawks are acting out to protect their family. Hawks raising young fledglings are most likely to turn violent towards humans, seeing them as a threat to their young.

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Generally, these hawks make their nests high up in a tree so they can survey the area for danger. If you happen to enter their territory, a hawk will think nothing of swooping down and driving you out of the area.

What to do if you have an aggressive hawk on your property?

If you are unfortunate enough to have an angry Red-Tailed Hawk on your property there's little you can do about it. These birds are federally protected, so it's illegal to harm them. If the bird has become a danger to humans, your best bet is to call the Department of Environmental Conservation. They should be able to send someone out to trap and relocate the bird so it no longer is a threat to you or your family.

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