BRADENTON, Fla. - Residents in one Bradenton neighborhood are taking cover to avoid aerial attacks from a red-shouldered hawk that's made its home in a senior condo community.
It's been dive-bombing residents at the Cortez Villas on 43rd Street West -- sending at least one woman to the hospital. Residents want the bird gone, but wildlife officials say ‘no can do’.
These days, Beverly Brasgalla isn't going anywhere without her umbrella, the best defense against her newest neighbor. For more than a month now, she says she’s been held hostage by the hawk. “I’ve been hit four times with it…I had a gash in my forehead and about a two-inch scrape."
And her neighbors are under siege, too.
"I just walked out of my car one afternoon, and as I opened the door, she attacked -- I assume she -- attacked from behind and hit me in the head." That attack left Judy Coker with a gash, a trip to the hospital, a tetanus shot and a round of antibiotics.
Others fear things could get worse. “And I'm most concerned about a hawk coming from behind and hitting a little old lady, and she’s so scared she might have a heart attack," says neighborhood board association board member Marti Clark.
Warning signs are up and alerts from the neighborhood have gone out in mailboxes. However, since the nest is active, with at least one baby inside, wildlife officials can't do anything about it.
"Our hands are absolutely tied. We've done things we feel we need to do to protect our citizens in here, and it's really not working," says Clark.
And that's left neighbors caught between a hawk and a hard place. “I tend to be a conservationist, but on the other hand we don’t want her attacking residents," says Coker.
With no easy answer, most people there say they'll just have to wait until the hawks fly the coop. Until then, they're keeping an eye to the sky, hoping they spot the hawk, before the hawk spots them.