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Postal Workers in Canada Have to Worry About More Than Dogs: Hawk Attacks on the Rise (Again)

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"Anyone in a uniform is a target."

We seem to think that a postal worker's biggest enemy on the job is an unleashed dog. But some mail carriers in Canada have added another animal to their work hazard list: hawks.

hawk postal workers Hawk attacks on postal workers have been a problem in Calgary suburbs for the last few years. (Photo: Shutterstock.com)

Postal workers in Calgary, Canada, have been facing hawk attacks for a few years now. In fact, two years ago workers were being attacked frequently enough that some wore helmets and mail delivery was eventually suspended.

Such attacks seemed to dwindle but a resurgence of the problem this year has postal workers on high alert again.

The National Post reported the issue is affecting the Lake Bonavista neighborhood where a predatory female hawk has chosen to raise her young. The attacks subside each year after the mother hawk and her chicks migrate south, but for the past three years, hawks have returned to nest in this location.

Given that they've had to deal with the problem for several years now, the postal service has developed a system for avoiding attacks.

canada post Canada Post workers in neighborhoods that have seen hawk attacks developed a system to watch each other's backs. (Photo via Wikimedia)

"Most days we split up the mail, put one person on one side of the street and another person on the other side of the street so we can look for it. And when the bird comes out, we have one person deliver, the other person watches. If the bird starts swooping, and we feel it’s unsafe at that point in time, we stop our delivery and bring the mail back to the facility," Canada post supervisor Rick Tobin told the National Post.

Tobin said he often walks around with a tennis racket, saying that should the hawk swoop down, it will attack the highest point.

"It would hit my tennis racket before it hit me," Tobin said, noting that he hasn't seen the hawk come out bearing its claws.

Tobin told the Calgary Herald, he doesn't think the hawk wants to hurt him, but scare him.

“He likes to warn us. You learn to watch out. You look for shadows on the ground," he said.

Although Tobin hasn't been hurt by the hawk, a worker last year was clipped in the face and another got scratched on the back. A hawk "dive-bombed" the worker wearing a bicycle helmet a few years ago and broke it, according to Tobin.

But why is the hawk attacking mail carriers specifically? Pattern, Tobin told the National Post.

"We have a pattern walk," he said. "We’re like a predator; we’re walking through, we don’t go into the houses or stay anywhere. We go in to check it out and we come back out and move onto the next one, just the way a predator would walk around looking for stuff."

A resident in the neighborhood, Pat Rendle, told the Calgary Herald she knows when the mail is coming because she sees the hawk begin to circle.

"Anyone in a uniform is a target," she said.

If the attacks continue, mail delivery could be suspended again.

Featured image via Shutterstock.com.

(H/T: io9)

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