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Nesting hawks attack people at Dixie State University

FILE: Dixie State University. Photo: Associated Press.

ST. GEORGE — Eleven people have been hit by hawks, apparently protecting a nest in a tree on the campus of Dixie State University.

St. George News says the birds swoop down from behind and use their wings to hit people walking by. That area of campus is now closed for the time being.

It appears no one was seriously hurt, but they were surprised. Now some employees have nicknamed the birds Dixie and Rebel, and call their chicks Storm and Blaze.

Officials say Utah is home to many raptors, eagles, hawks and owls, and running into them can be a common encounter.

They say birds of prey build nests near people generally when there is no other place available for them in the wild.

In May 2016, a hawk was nesting on BYU campus and attacking teachers and students who passed by.

And in August 2017, Syracuse residents say they were dive-bombed by nesting hawks as well.