Dive-bombing bird proves quite a spectacle

June 12, 2009 10:37:26 PM PDT
The newest lunchtime attraction in downtown San Francisco involves audience participation in a very different way, mostly because you never know when you are going to be involved. You need to have eyes in the back of your head for this experience -- and you could get hurt!

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Lunchtime at Front and California in San Francisco. Many turn out for the ornithology -- the scientific study of blackbirds. In particular, a Brewer's Blackbird on the corner, now named "Swoop," for obvious reasons.

It is a male with whitish-yellow eyes... he's the man," said Sheila Stetson, member of the Audubon Society.

In spring, around an active nest, this would be typical male blackbird behavior. He thinks we are in his territory, and for two weeks, he has had the height advantage.

But Swoop's audience is bigger, even, than the crowd at California and Front. He has gone global.

"I did a search last night and it's on a Chinese newspaper," said bird blogger Heather Marlow.

Heather Marlow helped create this phenomenon. Two weeks ago, she began a blog that as of Thursday had 10,000 hits from 73 countries.

"I don't know what the appeal is," said Marlow. "I think it's just funny."

Over and over, we might add.

Although with all the levity, there will always be one social conscience in a crowd.

"Are we so out of touch with nature that we get enjoyment out of watching people get dive-bombed by a bird that's protecting its nest?" wondered bird sympathizer Jessica Gabbert.

Ummm... yes.

So, until that nest goes vacant a few weeks from now, do not let your guard down.

BLOG: "Attack Bird Chronicles"

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