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Birds swooping on my dog

I live in New Jersey, on the Hudson River, across from Manhattan. In my apartment complex is a nice park with many trees. I noticed some people watching birds in a tree one day, but thought nothing of it. The next day, while walking my small terrier, a bird in the same tree swooped down on my dog who barked at it, then the bird swooped back into the tree. He swooped down again, and this time I flailed my arms. The next swoop was directed at me. I then noticed a second bird on the branch, perhaps a mate. I thought this was overly defensive behavior. But to my utter surprise, the birds started FOLLOWING me, as I now had started backing up to my building's doorway. The two birds alternately flew from one tree to the next, paralleling my course. I dismissed it later, almost unable to believe myself what'd happened. This morning, when my dog and I walked by the park, I heard that same squawk. The same two birds flew down from a tree and positioned themselves on the bench top near us. Again, I backed away slowly with my dog. WHAT IS GOING ON?! These two birds are larger than sparrows, smaller than gulls. They are grayish (more gray than black) and white, and their tail feathers fan out broadly, squarely - a whitish color, I think. They have a short chirp but, more menacingly. Also a raspy squawk you might expect to hear from a larger, predatory bird. PLEASE help!

Birding Expert - George H. Harrison

Your aggressive birds are northern mockingbirds that are protecting a nesting territory. It is not unusual for them to attack a passerby during their nesting season. The actual nest is very near the tree in which they perched. The solution for you and your dog is to stay away from that part of the park until after the nesting season, which will be late summer.

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