Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/6/2019 (389 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Nine-year-old Grace Roberts was on her way to school Monday morning when a bird resembling hawk that has been dive-bombing people on her Transcona street made her its next target.
"It felt like something dropped on me, and I screamed," the Grade 4 student, who has scratches on the right side of her face and just inside her ear, said outside her home, keeping a nervous eye on the sky every time a bird flew by.
"It just grabbed me, then let go... It really hurt."
Her mother, Catelan Klatt, who left work to take Grace to the doctor, said she was advised to keep the wounds clean and watch to see if she develops a fever.
Klatt said the Winnipeg school had earlier sent an email, warning families about a hawk nesting nearby.
On Monday, after Grace ran crying into school following the brief attack, it sent another email, advising parents and guardians to avoid that stretch of Ravelston Avenue East.
"If your children usually walk to school down the 500 block of Ravelston, please help them find an alternate route so we can be sure they will not be hurt by the hawk," the email reads. "Until further notice, (crossing) patrols will not be posted at the corner of Ravelston and Rosseau (Avenue)."
Wayoata Elementary School officials declined to comment.
River East School Division said in an email: "This is the only student that we are aware of that has had any interaction with the hawk. We were made aware of a nesting hawk last week by an adult neighbour who lives near the area... The school has been in contact with wildlife conservation to alert them."
Grace said she is OK, and plans to take a long detour to school next time. Klatt said she, too, notified provincial conservation officials.
They weren't sure what kind of a bird menaced Grace, who described it as light and dark brown, with a wingspan as big as her own.
Kevin Fraser, an ornithologist, behavioural ecologist, conservation biologist and assistant professor at the University of Manitoba, said the bird was "defending its nest and young."
The bird is letting people know it needs space, and to keep their distance, he said.
"There's a very brief, crucial period when parents are doing extra defensive stuff" when the chicks are "fledglings" and just learning to fly, Fraser said.
Meanwhile, the U of M's Fort Garry campus is dealing with Canada geese who can become aggressive if anyone gets too close to their goslings. The school is letting passersby know to keep their distance.
The Transcona school is doing the right thing in warning parents and guardians to make sure children take a detour around the bird, Fraser said.
"The best way to deal with it sounds like what they're doing — create a buffer around the bird and give it space for another week or so."
He said it's against the law to touch, or harm a migratory bird or to move its nest. "The young would die."
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