Hawk attacks Toledo Police officers as they walk to work

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 7:09 PM EDT
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Several Toledo police officers, city and county employees have been attacked while walking to work. The suspects aren't your every day criminals.

"I've been attacked a couple times," said Toledo police officer Sandy Ceglarek.

Officer Sandy Ceglarek says it was quick and she didn't know what hit her . She was walking in downtown near municipal court, TPD and the jail.

"As I was coming down the stairs. All of a sudden I felt something hit the back of my head and I thought somebody was throwing something at me," said officer Ceglarek.

She admits she was scared.

"I had my purse and a bag in my hand. I was whipping it around saying go away, go away, go away," said the officer.

TPD officers learned a coopers hawk is dive-bombing people who get to close to its nest. One officer had to go to the hospital.

"Could've been that they were here last year and there was never an incident. Something may have triggered them being on high alert and really watching around the nest site," said the co-founder of Nature's Nursey Laura Zitzelberger.

The co-founder of Nature's Nursey Laura Zitzelberger came out to observe the birds. Our camera captured the baby chicks trying to fly.

"Downtown here there's lots of sparrows and pigeons, squirrels, rats and mice and they will eat those animals. So they could actually be very good to have in downtown areas," said Zitzelberger.

She says its rare they make physical contact with people. Zitzelberger says the animals have excellent eyesight and hearing. The hawks are federally protected. TPD contacted a wild life expert and the city is considering removing the nest when it is considered inactive, meaning there are no eggs or chicks in it. Plus trimming the tree.

"I don't know how much good that would do because there's plenty of other trees around here. These birds tend to have a territory. So next year when it's time to nest if this tree gets modified and it's not a good nesting site it might pick this tree over here," said Zitzelberger.

Zitzelberger says the dive bombing will get worse.

"They are going to be just over a month old when they finally are leaving the nest. It's called fledging and they are also referred to as ranchers. They will get out on the branches and to be perfectly honest that's when it's going to probably get a little trickier. That's when they're more likely on high alert watching what their youngsters are doing and trying to watch everything around to make sure their youngster stay safe," said Zitzelberger.

In the meantime officer Ceglarek says keep your eyes to to the skies.

"He probably weighs a little over a pound, but his wing span has to be three feet. Of course when he's coming at you're thinking oh my gosh it's a B-52. You know, I was scared," said the officer.

Animal experts say it's important to avoid the area. A City of Toledo spokesperson says they are not doing anything with ropes and as of now there is no plan for a beware of hawk sign. All officer are being made aware.