Attacking hawks have community on edge

Residents are using helmets to protect themselves after one man even had to get stitches on top of his head.

Fred Griffin carries a rake out to his mailbox, but he doesn't have any plans to do gardening. Instead, he is trying to keep two hawks from hitting him in the head.

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"I hold the rake over my head to make myself look bigger and I've never been hit with the rake over my head," Griffin said.

Griffin isn't the only one with an eye to the sky. His neighbors, Marilynn and George Max, either carry an umbrella or wear a bike helmet while they're outdoors.

"A few days ago he was out there weeding and he saw a shadow go over him," Marilynn told Channel 9. "And he kept weeding and pretty soon it nudged at his head."

"The first time it ever hit me I was like, ‘Oh, that bird is damaged,'" said George. "It flew over by the creek and it wasn't damaged. It was like I'd been hit by a basketball."

North Carolina Wildlife officials said the hawks have most likely laid their eggs and are taking turns protecting the nest.

This is the sixth year they've returned to the same area of northeast Hickory, but because they are federally protected they can’t be harmed, and their nests can't be disturbed with eggs in them.

Griffin said it's frustrating for he and his neighbors, who are constantly on guard for the birds.

"It's a nuisance when you can't go out in your own yard and worry about getting hit in the head. I wish there was something they could do to move them somewhere else," Griffin said.

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