Territorial blackbird leaves its FiDi perch

June 30, 2009 3:42:38 PM PDT
A stretch of sidewalk in San Francisco's Financial District is safe to stroll down again now that a protective blackbird that made international headlines by dive-bombing pedestrians has moved on.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7

The blackbird, nicknamed "Swoops," has left its perch outside City National Bank at Front and California streets, a bank employee said today.

"It left a little over a week ago," said Andy Sybilrud, the bank's assistant vice president, whose desk near the window provided him a clear view of the action.

Swoops had apparently built a nest and laid eggs in a tree along the sidewalk on Front Street. For several weeks, the bird sat perched on a metal awning outside the bank, swooping down and pecking any pedestrian it deemed a threat to its young.

Dozens of workers would gather on their lunch breaks to watch, sipping on sodas and howling with laughter each time the bird attacked.

Deb Campbell, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control, said the department received numerous calls about the blackbird.

"Some people were annoyed by Swoops ... and others were worried that someone was going to hurt Swoops," she said.

She said such protective behavior from birds is common at this time of year and that in most cases, when the baby birds leave the nest after three or four weeks, the attacks on pedestrians cease.

Her advice for anyone bothered by a territorial bird is to simply find another walking route.

"Just avoid the area altogether if that's disturbing to you," she said.

A local blogger gave the bird its nickname and followed its actions closely on the Web site

www.frontstreetattackbird.blogspot.com. On Monday, the blogger posted a video retrospective of Swoops' Front Street reign, set to music.

Sybilrud also admitted to being saddened by Swoops' departure. He had been "swooped" twice.

"It went on for almost three weeks," he said. "But it was still funny every time it hit somebody.

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments