Orlando golf course posts warning sign for aggressive hawks

Sign says hawks have been attacking members

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ORLANDO, Fla. – This is not the type of birdie you want on the golf course.

Orange Tree Golf Club in Orlando is warning their members about aggressive nesting hawks on their course that have a history of attacking members.

"Spring is nesting season for hawks, so birds are coming together to build nests and families," said Rehabiliation Supervisor for Audubon Center for Birds of Prey Dianna Flynt. "Nesting season is the only time of year that hawks are aggressive, because they are trying to protect their nest and see humans as predators." 

Membership Director of Orange Tree Shannon Wisne Helton said that three or four members were attacked by the nesting hawks last year. One woman needed to get staples in her head for the wound. 

"Hawks with their feet, so often they will scratch the skulls," Flynt said.

It has unknown how many people have been attacked this year, but we spoke to Suzanne Scherfer who told us that she was attacked by a hawk just last week during a walk in the Orange Tree Golf Club.

"I saw the Hawk while I was walking, then I felt something hit me in the head pretty hard. I fell to the ground and screamed and the Hawk let go of me," Scherfer told News 6.

Scherfer says the signs were posted a couple of days after her attack. "A lot of people didn't believe me about the attack,' she said. "I want to get my story out to help other people." 

Hawks and their nests are protected under law, so the golf course cannot legally remove the nest. Instead, they are encouraging people to take proper precaution when coming into the hawk's nesting area. 

Flynt said the best way to protect yourself from nesting hawk attacks are by avoiding the area, carrying an umbrella or wearing a hat. The Orange Tree Golf Club sign warns members to do exactly that when they are around the area.

If someone does happen to be attacked by a nesting hawk this spring, Flynt said the best thing to do is immediately clean the wound and, if it is bad, seek medical treatment. Hawks do not carry any disease, but their talons to carry bacteria, which could infect a wound. 

Beware it is hawk nesting time of year again and the hawks may be territorial. They have been known to dive down and hit...

Posted by Orange Tree Golf Club on Tuesday, February 14, 2017