Chehalis City Hall Has a Feathery Problem: a Dive-Bombing Blackbird

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Every day, he threatens local government officials and staff at Chehalis City Hall. He’s relentless. He’s menacing. He’s less than 3 ounces.

He’s a blackbird. 

For the last few weeks, a nesting pair of what appears to be Brewer’s blackbirds has been around the building, and the male is particularly aggressive.

A few weeks back, Chehalis City Councilor Kate McDougall saw a woman on the sidewalk near city hall flailing her arms above her in the air. Concerned, she did a double-take. The woman was being dive-bombed by a small, black bird.

McDougall didn't consider it again, until a city hall employee mentioned the same thing happening to him.

“He got attacked by the bird. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, Glenn, I'm so sorry I didn't warn you about this. This is becoming a real thing.’ Since then we've been watching it,” she said. “It happens multiple times every day.”

Now, the bird has both a fearsome and hilarious reputation. When councilors and staff watch someone walk past the building, they hold their breath and hope the bird won’t attack. 

During the Lewis County Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run, Mayor Tony Ketchum was trying to ward off the blackbird by shaking pom poms at it.

“It was a whole scene. And we were just all out there dying (with laughter),” McDougall said.

Name ideas have been circulating as well, including Angry Bird, Earhart, Twanda and McDougall’s favorite: “Dartt,” referencing both the bird’s darting flight motion and the Dial-A-Ride Twin Transit (DARTT) program. The City of Chehalis also doesn’t have a mascot, so McDougall is considering suggesting the menace bird. 

“Everyone seems to think it's pretty hilarious,” she said.

McDougall said the bird often sits atop the cross on Westminster Presbyterian Church across Market Boulevard from city hall, awaiting his next victim.

The blackbird did not respond to The Chronicle’s request for comment, but he did dive-bomb staff who went to take a picture of him.

McDougall is open to naming suggestions from the community. The Chronicle will compile name ideas if enough are sent. Submit ideas to isabel@chronline.com.