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Beware the angry birds near the Rideau Canal

Nesting red-winged blackbirds are back in Ottawa, another sign spring has returned. But people running near the Rideau Canal say they've been hit by a wave of unexpected attacks.

"There’s screaming, laughing and swearing," said Julia Martin who lives on Echo Drive. "Then you think, 'Oh yes, they just got hit with an angry bird.'"

Martin has been one of the unlucky ones.

"What happened to me is they used their claws and they pull your hair. Sometimes people say they hear the flapping of the wings and they start running."

Gregory Rand from the Canadian Museum of Nature says there is a reason for this.

"At this time of the year, the birds are on their eggs or the eggs have hatched. What they’re doing right now is defending their young from perceived threat," he said.

The birds are mostly harmless and Rand says we can expect it to calm down in the next couple of weeks.

For those unaware of the birds, the ambush can be jarring. Children who live on the street created warning signs cautioning those willing to venture down the path. Top Stories

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