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From: Matt Good
Orland Park, IL
Do you need a permit for Red-winged blackbirds swooping down and attacking people? I know you don't need one if they are in the act of causing damaging or a health hazard. They are afraid that children will run into the street after being attacked and get hit by a car.

Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
How long has the behavior been happening? Is it just one bird or several? Typically if a bird is swooping down and attacking people, it is protecting a nest. If that is the case, if you can find the nest, you can let people know not to go near it. That should solve the problem. Red-winged blackbirds are protected by federal and state laws. You aren't likely to get a removal permit if the bird is just being a temporary nuisance. Children should be instructed to wave their arms in the air if the bird dives at them. If you don't think this is just a case of an over-protective father bird, please e-mail me at

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