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Brooklyn Residents: Red-Tailed Hawks Terrorizing Neighborhood

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Some Brooklyn residents say they're afraid to leave their homes -- not because of crime, but because of aggressive birds.

As CBS 2's John Slattery reported, one resident said she was targeted and attacked by a red-tailed hawk.

The big nest sits atop a fire escape, and it's from there that Tahjah Coleman was attacked in the back of the head.

"Boom, bit. Put my hand on the back and got a handful of blood," Coleman recalled.

The location is on Gates Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where a pair of red-tailed hawks chose a sixth-floor fire escape for their nest.

Coleman said she was on the sixth-floor terrace of her apartment across the street, when she felt a beak and claws in the back of her head.

"I was grabbed by the back of the head, when I was bitten. I didn't know exactly what was going on. So when I turned around I got scratched on the side. I had a scratch right here," she said.

Coleman was able to knock the bird off of her and went to a nearby hospital for rabies and tetanus shots.

Now, she said she has no interest in venturing out onto the balcony.

"I can't go out on the balcony any more. (You can't?) No. (Too scary?) He basically owns the balcony. It's not ours any more," Coleman said.

Red-tailed hawks, like all raptors, are protected under federal and state law. So the nest can't be disturbed.

"They're living there like we're living here. They need to start paying rent," joked Coleman's brother, Kareem.

Coleman and other neighbors said the nest was built in March and the attack didn't come from the female.

"It's just the male that's doing it. (Males are like that, aren't they?) Oh, yeah very aggressive," she said.

It was some 10 years ago that a red-tailed hawk called Pale Male became a media darling after taking up residence on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park. There are now a dozen such nests in Manhattan alone.

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