In the post 'The art of bird sketching,' Kees Moeliker of Improbable Research writes about an unknown avian menace that's been recently assailing unsuspecting West Palm Beach pedestrians. Witness local news reenactments at their finest. reports: "Some dog walkers in downtown West Palm Beach [Florida] claim they have been attacked by a ‘crazy bird' that swoops through the air." The bird is described as being "black with a lot of yellow on its breast," but its specific identity was not clear. To help identify the feathered nuisance, bird attack victim Ellen Levy made a composite sketch.


Although not quite to the standard of present-day ornithology, aided by blurred stills taken from the video, I think it might be a female yellow-headed blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus). Any other suggestions from bird folks in the New World?

Update: several Old World ornithologists have identified the bird as a (female) Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major). These birds are indeed notorious dive-bombers.

Mysterious "crazy bird" harasses Florida pedestrians
This image was lost some time after publication.

This post originally appeared on Improbable Research.