Angry Birds: Winged Worrywarts On Patrol Near Church & Market

This is not the bird that's harassing people near the Castro Safeway. | Photo: Eric Sonstroem/Flickr
By Walter Thompson - Published on July 10, 2017.

If you've been dive-bombed recently while walking near the Safeway at Church and Market, you're not alone.

Tipster Emily R. emailed us this afternoon to alert us to a bird that's been tapping pedestrians on the head as they pass near the supermarket.

"I walk this way to and from work every day, and the little black bird swoops out a tree along Market, attempts to land on my head, and flies off," she wrote.

Brewer's blackbirds live in the trees around this intersection. | Photo: Google

Emily said she's had these encounters "several times," but added that it's also happened to her co-workers and strangers she's observed from a distance.

We contacted Officer Edith at Animal Care and Control via Twitter to learn more.

"Every year, this is a common occurrence all over the city," replied the city's chief wildlife wrangler. The birds, properly identified as Brewer's blackbirds, "are protecting their nests" and "won't injure you," she said.

In June 2009, "Swoops" the blackbird buzzed FiDi pedestrians. | Photo: Ingrid Taylar/Flickr

The blackbirds are likely nesting in the branches of street trees with recently hatched chicks, so when someone gets too close, they remind pedestrians to keep moving.

"We recommend using the opposite sidewalk until the babies have fledged, which should be in a couple of weeks," said Officer Edith.

Here's a video of "Swoops," a blackbird that was shot in the FiDi in June 2009. After Emily had a chance to view the clip, she confirmed that she'd definitely been strafed by a Brewer's blackbird.

June 2009: Brewer's Blackbird protects its FiDi nest. | YouTube

Have you had a strange animal encounter on the streets of San Francisco? Text our tipline at 415-200-3233 and send us a photo; if we use your information, we'll give you credit.

Apr 09, 2021
San Francisco Mission Bay

New Belgium Brewing opens first company flagship restaurant and taproom in Mission Bay

Sandwiched between Oracle Park and the Chase Center, New Belgium Brewing — one of the largest craft brewers in the country — officially opened its first company-owned and operated taproom and eatery, New Belgium, at 1000a 3rd Street in San Francisco on Friday.  Read More

Apr 09, 2021
San Francisco Castro Duboce Triangle

Team with Saison ties set to open Mexican restaurant Comodo in the Castro

Hoodline has learned that two people who are part of the restaurant group behind two-Michelin-starred Saison are set to open a new Mexican restaurant at 2223 Market St., formerly Nomica and before that neighborhood favorite 2223 Restaurant. Read More

Apr 09, 2021
San Francisco Civic Center Mid-Market Tenderloin

New Tenderloin program aims to elevate youth voices and promote young leaders

The Tenderloin will see a boost in after-school and community activities for teens and older transitional-aged youth through a new program funded in part by a federal grant. Read More

Apr 08, 2021
San Francisco Ingleside

New Jersey-based Korean American grocery chain H Mart set to open at the edge of Oceanview

At long last, after about an 18-month delay, popular Korean American grocer H Mart is opening its first San Francisco location in OceanView Village at a near-term date still to be announced. Read More