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Hawks Attack 2 People at St. John's University to Protect Baby

By Katie Honan | June 2, 2016 10:58am | Updated on June 2, 2016 11:41am
 The injured red-tailed hawk behind St. John Hall at St. John's University.
The injured red-tailed hawk behind St. John Hall at St. John's University.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

JAMAICA HILLS — A pair of hawks have attacked two people on the St. John's University campus this week as they tried to protect an apparently injured or fledgling baby bird, according to school security. 

The first victim was standing in front of the school's University Center on June 1 when the bird struck, according to an alert sent out by St. John's University's Department of Public Safety.

Another person was attacked in the back of St. John Hall near the oval parking lot early Thursday, according to the alert.

"Within the past 24 hours, the Department of Public Safety has responded to two reported incidents of people being struck in the head by a hawk on the Queens campus," public safety wrote in an alert to students and staff Thursday.

"Both individuals received lacerations to their head as a result of being struck. Public Safety has learned that a smaller baby or injured hawk is currently in the bushes near the rear of St. John Hall.

"It appears that the larger hawk has become more aggressive in an attempt to protect the smaller or injured hawk."

It was not immediately clear if the people struck by the hawks were students or staff.

A larger hawk keeps watch over the smaller baby hawk on St. John Hall. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)

On Thursday, there were two hawks circling near the baby hawk, or eyas. The area around St. John Hall was cordoned by officers, who were keeping their eye on the hawks.

Bobby Horvath, who runs Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR) with his wife, said the birds are red-tailed hawks, which are common at the university.

In the past the younger hawk's parents have nested in tall stadium lights by the former football field and on a dorm air conditioning unit, he said. They may have moved their nest this year.

He brought the bird, who was a baby, back to his center on Long Island for rehabilitation.

"All birds go through this stage," he said.

"They come out of the nest, they're not fully flighted. It can take a week to two weeks for them to fly to get height."

The bird was set to be returned to the St. John's campus on Tuesday, he said.