Yesterday I became a victim of the "legendary" blackbird of Grand Ave.  As I was riding east between California and Rockwell, I felt a sort of tugging at my right shoulder and heard a ruffling/agitated noise.  As I turned my head I saw a flurry of black feathers hovering at my shoulder. I screamed (one of those shrill screams) and what I later found out was a bird, flew off behind me. "What the f*ck?!?", I screamed but my bf, who was behind me, was oddly not surpised.  He later told me about this bird (a red-winged blackbird, we think) that chases bikers on Grand Ave, somewhere between California and Western (oh, and usually only east-bound riders!). He said this bird is fairly legendary with some people in the bike community - messangers, etc. Apparently I was lucky in that the bird only stayed with me a few seconds (shrill scream?) but he chased my boyfriend for few blocks, swooping down on his shoulder and helmet.

 

Anyone have any run-ins with the "blackbird of Grand Ave" that swoops down on bicyclists???

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I have had more then one run in with that bastard and it is worth noting that not a single one of them have been while wearing a helmet; maybe he is a safety advocate?
i am all too familiar with this red wing black bird. ive been victimized 4 or 5 times, and i dreaded him every time i rode to the grand/western metra stop. he does usually attack the east-bounder, as im pretty sure thats where his nest is, but my first encounter was on the westbound side. at first, i thought some kids at the park over there were being jackasses and throwing things, but it didnt quite feel like a projectile object. i stopped to look around. a caretaker for the park walked up, laughing a bit, said it was a bird! WHA? a bird. he said that many people get attacked there. as i told my tale of the man eating bird, i heard of many other accounts of the same thing.

he bit my head twice, flapped all over my shoulder once, and another just screached his evil into my ears as a spun as fast as i could.

damn bird!

and i agree with doug...the only two times i was actually bit was without helmet.
i've heard that painting/drawing "eyespots" on the back of your helmet or cap is a deterrent to bird attacks.

i've been buzzed by redwings -though they usually just follow about 5-10 feet overhead & behind a bit and squawk -and once was chased half a mile by a barn swallow that was trying to peck at my ear. Swallows are fast little buggers.
This bird kicked my ass two days in a row. I have never been attacked by a bird in my life but this little f'er got me twice. Yesterday, I was out for a run and as I went east on Grand (just across from Smith park...middle of the block) i felt something take a nip at the back of my head along with lot's of screeching. Today, I was on my bike and i had to go in that general direction again. This time i was equipped with sunglasses and helmet so my confidence was bolstered. I wanted to do a little recon and see if it was just a freak incident. Heading east i saw the bastard sitting on the top of a light pole as soon as i passed him he came down on his dive bomb run. Steering with one hand, throwing poorly placed punches with the other hand we battled for about a block before he gave up. This bird is one mean son of a bitch. Watch yourself. I say we form a good old fashioned mob and take him out with pitchforks and torches.
They are just protecting their nesting area, and prolly looking for more nesting material. Your long locks would make a nice target Adriana

Adriana said:
Awe, not to sound like some bleeding heart liberal, but give the little bastards a break. I'm sure you're not serious about 'taking him out', but they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and hurting one comes with a hefty fine. I know they can be annoying and possibly dangerous, but I find their 'fighting back' stance on encroaching humans kind of endearing. Then again I've never been attacked, but I get a feeling I'd be forgiving :)

thepuppies said:
This bird kicked my ass two days in a row. I have never been attacked by a bird in my life but this little f'er got me twice. Yesterday, I was out for a run and as I went east on Grand (just across from Smith park...middle of the block) i felt something take a nip at the back of my head along with lot's of screeching. Today, I was on my bike and i had to go in that general direction again. This time i was equipped with sunglasses and helmet so my confidence was bolstered. I wanted to do a little recon and see if it was just a freak incident. Heading east i saw the bastard sitting on the top of a light pole as soon as i passed him he came down on his dive bomb run. Steering with one hand, throwing poorly placed punches with the other hand we battled for about a block before he gave up. This bird is one mean son of a bitch. Watch yourself. I say we form a good old fashioned mob and take him out with pitchforks and torches.
This has to be one of the funniest things I've ever read. I may have to ride that stretch just to witness it.
Oh man! Well I guess it's kinda comforting to know it's happened to others out there! I'm just glad I kept the handlebars pointed straight while it was happening. Hopefully this ruthless bird doesn't cause anyone to wipe-out. And next time, I'll be mentally prepared for it - kinda like biking through the streets last night for all the (illegal) fireworks displays - what a battlefield that was.
Yep. This species is *extremely* territorial and defends its nest more aggressively than most birds we encounter in our travels. I've occasionally had this problem in other locations.

Michael A said:
They are just protecting their nesting area, and prolly looking for more nesting material. Your long locks would make a nice target Adriana

Adriana said:
Awe, not to sound like some bleeding heart liberal, but give the little bastards a break. I'm sure you're not serious about 'taking him out', but they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and hurting one comes with a hefty fine. I know they can be annoying and possibly dangerous, but I find their 'fighting back' stance on encroaching humans kind of endearing. Then again I've never been attacked, but I get a feeling I'd be forgiving :)

thepuppies said:
This bird kicked my ass two days in a row. I have never been attacked by a bird in my life but this little f'er got me twice. Yesterday, I was out for a run and as I went east on Grand (just across from Smith park...middle of the block) i felt something take a nip at the back of my head along with lot's of screeching. Today, I was on my bike and i had to go in that general direction again. This time i was equipped with sunglasses and helmet so my confidence was bolstered. I wanted to do a little recon and see if it was just a freak incident. Heading east i saw the bastard sitting on the top of a light pole as soon as i passed him he came down on his dive bomb run. Steering with one hand, throwing poorly placed punches with the other hand we battled for about a block before he gave up. This bird is one mean son of a bitch. Watch yourself. I say we form a good old fashioned mob and take him out with pitchforks and torches.
Ditto. This thread is hilarious. Nice touch with the "legendary" Annette.

Craig S. said:
This has to be one of the funniest things I've ever read. I may have to ride that stretch just to witness it.
maybe a tandem with a scarecrow on the back???

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
Ditto. This thread is hilarious. Nice touch with the "legendary" Annette.

Craig S. said:
This has to be one of the funniest things I've ever read. I may have to ride that stretch just to witness it.
I still think you guys are all playing a joke on me (um...and everyone else following this site). Anyone get a video or picture yet? Seeing is believing.
no one would do that to you Julie, but this week's movie in the park is "Birds"

Julie Hochstadter said:
I still think you guys are all playing a joke on me (um...and everyone else following this site). Anyone get a video or picture yet? Seeing is believing.

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