Birds will send a message if you get too close to their nest by swooping, but is this aggressive behaviour a danger to you or your pets? 

According to Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation executive director Darrell Crabbe, we often see this type of aggressive behaviour in Merlins and Cooper’s Hawks at this time of year while they are nesting. 

He said they display this type of behaviour in order to protect their nest and eggs. Once the eggs hatch and the young birds fledge the nest, the aggressive behaviour stops.  

Crabbe said it only takes two to three weeks for the birds to fledge the nest and usually the nesting season is usually done by now. 

“The eggs will have hatched by now so the bird will be in there and they should be fledging out very, very quickly. As soon as they are, this activity will quit,” Crabbe said. 

If a bird does swoop at you, Crabbe said it is very unlikely that the bird will make contact with you. He said you might feel the breeze of the birds wings, but not much more. 

As for pets, Crabbe said aggressive birds do not pose much of a danger for cats and small dogs. 

“They will sometimes actually pick at a cat or a dog. They’ll actually touch them, but they certainly aren’t going to attack them or anything like that,” he said. 

But it isn’t just you and your pets that these birds might be aggressive towards. Crabbe said they can also go after other birds that may pose a threat to their nest. 

“They are also very aggressive against other birds, especially crows and magpies because those are birds that predate on their chicks and the eggs. So, you’ll see them constantly harassing any other species of birds away from their nest,” he said.