RIVERVIEW, Fla. — Neighbors living in one Riverview neighborhood are watching the sky for red-shouldered hawks. Sam Riscile was injured last week after a hawk swooped down and scratched him on his head.
"I was standing over there by the sidewalk on the way to the mailbox when it struck me in the head," said Riscile.
Riscile shared a photo of his injury. He said he cleaned out the wound with peroxide. A week later, it is healing.
"Just protecting their young, aggressively. It's normal," said Riscile.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said people can coexist with red-shouldered hawks with no issues. Conflicts with the hawks are not common. If conflicts happen, it is typically around nesting season. During the breeding season these hawks are protective of their mate, nest, eggs and chicks. They may perceive people and pets as potential threats, according to FWC's website.
Sharon Matz said the nest is in a tree in her yard. The hawk got very close to her, but did not injure her. She said it felt like a branch fell on her head.
"They take turns going out hunting and they do swoop around and they are diving at you if they think you're too close to the nest," said Matz.
FWC recommends people avoid the areas near a nest. If you must be close by, carry an open umbrella or wear a hard hat. State wildlife officers also suggest eliminating food sources by your home that may attract prey like rodents.
Red shouldered-hawks live in Florida year-round. They are one of the most commonly seen hawks throughout the state, according to FWC.
"I had a hard hat already so I don't cut the grass or walk around the yard without some type of hat on," said Riscile.
"I'm glad they're there. Poor things, they got nowhere else to live. They can stay."
For more information on red-shouldered hawks,click here.