Canadian postal workers in Moose Jaw, Sask. have another reason to “Go postal.” For the second year in a row, Swainson’s hawks have dive-bombed Canada postal employees as they struggled to deliver mail to the residents of Moose Jaw.
Although it sounds like a joke, the situation with the Swainson’s hawks in Moose Jaw is so bad that all home delivery will be suspended in a four-block radius until it is safer for the postal workers to be outside delivering the mail. Before the mail was suspended in Moose Jaw, postal workers tried to protect themselves from the swooping hawks by wearing helmets, but the helmets proved inadequate. Residents in Moose Jaw noted earlier that the postal workers were the frequent targets of a male and female pair of hawks in the neighborhood. One resident told CBC that:
"They tried to confuse the hawks by both going down the same side of the street," said Pamela Peterson, a resident of Henry Street."But it didn't confuse the hawks."
Officials are uncertain how long home delivery will have to be suspended in the neighborhood `and stress that it really is quite dangerous for the carriers to deliver the mail while the hawks are defending their nests.
The residents of Moose Jaw are being told to carry umbrellas in case of a hawk attack. The Swainson’s hawks are protected by the government so residents are not allowed to shoot the birds. According to THIS, the hawks have been protected since 1966 because they are crucial in pest control and at keeping rodent populations down.
Swainson’s hawks tend to nest in grasslands or even near farmlands, but have started to move closer to more populated locations such as Moose Jaw. The hawks usually nest in the spring and teach their newborn offspring to fly about this time of year, which is why the birds are so protective of their young offspring at the moment. Interestingly, the Swainson’s hawk chicks are not quite as protective as their parents- they often kill and eat their younger offspring so that there will be more food available for them to eat.