A mother red-shouldered hawk perched high up in her nest in Tampa is making it clear -- no one better mess with her babies. She and a daddy hawk are protecting their nest from unsuspecting passers-by.
"Out of nowhere, they felt like a brick hit them in the head," said Stacy-Ann Payne-Gray of Nova Southeastern University. "Then you see the hawk on the branch chirping like, 'I did it. Stay away!'"
The hawks have swooped down and attacked people walking in and out of Nova Southeastern.
The three victims of this fowl play have bumps and bruises.
The female sits in the nest fiercely watching over her babies. The male patrols on the edge of the building, watching everybody like, well, a hawk.
"He's probably watching us right now," Payne-Gray continued.
Nova closed off big section of the parking lot with yellow caution tape to keep people away.
If anyone understands this parental protection, it's Francine Luckett, pregnant with her first.
"I would swoop on you, too, if you were going to attack me or my babies," she laughed.
Everybody has to tiptoe around the nest for now because it has to stay right where it is. All native birds of prey in Florida are protected species, so moving one of those nests without a permit could earn you up to 60 days and jail and a $500 fine.
"Unless it becomes an actual physical danger to people, at this point we recommend to people, just like any wild animal, the best way to look at it is from a distance," explained Florida Fish & Wildlife's Baryl Martin.
The school is putting up notices warning of the hawks above.
"We just wait," Payne-Gray added, "wait until the babies come and then we'll go from there."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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