Golf course warns players of attacking hawks

Hawk nests can't legally be removed

This is not the type of birdie you want on the golf course.

Orange Tree Golf Club in Orlando, Florida, is warning members about aggressive nesting hawks on the course that have a history of attacking members, reports WKMG-TV.

"Spring is nesting season for hawks, so birds are coming together to build nests and families," said bird rehab specialist Dianna Flynt. "Nesting season is the only time of year that hawks are aggressive, because they are trying to protect their nest and see humans as predators." 

Membership Director of Orange Tree Shannon Wisne Helton said that three or four members were attacked by the nesting hawks last year. One woman needed to get staples in her head for the wound. 

"Hawks with their feet, so often they will scratch the skulls," Flynt said.

It has unknown how many people have been attacked this year, but Suzanne Scherfer said she was attacked by a hawk just last week during a walk in the Orange Tree Golf Club.

"I saw the hawk while I was walking, then I felt something hit me in the head pretty hard. I fell to the ground and screamed and the hawk let go of me," Scherfer said.

Scherfer says signs were posted a couple of days after her attack.

Hawks and their nests are protected under law, so the golf course cannot legally remove the nest. Instead, it's encouraging people to take proper precaution when coming into the hawk's nesting area. 

Flynt said the best way to protect yourself from nesting hawk attacks are by avoiding the area, carrying an umbrella or wearing a hat. The Orange Tree Golf Club sign warns members to do exactly that when they are around the area.

If someone does happen to be attacked by a nesting hawk this spring, Flynt said the best thing to do is immediately clean the wound and, if it is bad, seek medical treatment. Hawks do not carry any disease, but their talons carry bacteria, which could infect a wound.


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