It’s Getting CROW-ded Around Here!
I'm sitting in my backyard, trying to soak up a few rays, when my neighbour begins making the most god-awful squawking sounds. I go back inside the house, the squawking stops. Back in my lounge chair, it starts up all over again. He's literally trying to drive me out of my own backyard.
By neighbour I don’t mean one of the two-legged variety, but the pesky, aggressive black-winged kind. I’m an avid supporter of the SPCA and I love animals but Vancouver’s crows are starting to try my patience.
My friend’s daughter ran home from the park in tears recently, as one of these birds dive-bombed her. It’s happened to me too. You don’t need to have seen Hitchcock to get the heebie-jeebies when you feel the swoop on the back of your neck.
There are a heck of a lot of crows in Vancouver. George Clulow, president of the BC Field Ornithologists, says he’s counted up to 30,000 of them at the Still Creek Roost. Crows are scavengers and the more garbage they have access to, the bigger their numbers. “I think, but I don’t have proof yet, that numbers may be dropping due to food waste now going into compost bins and therefore being less available to the crows.”
Crow nesting season begins in early April. That’s when they get particularly aggressive about protecting their territory. The best thing to do? Stay away from nests and their young and don’t antagonize them.
As for the one who was “antagonizing” me, there are two possibilities. “It was a young, recently fledged bird begging for food, which they will do ad nauseam. Secondly, it was an adult bird being defensive about a newly fledged young in the area, and was issuing a warning that you were around,” says Clulow.
If you do try to retaliate, they will have it out for you. (It’s not your imagination.) Crows are very intelligent and can actually differentiate between us humans. They’ll also trash talk you to their buddies and then you’ll have a whole murder of them on your tail.
Photo: Gurinder Osan/AP
Now that I know a bit more about these crafty creatures, here are some tips for dealing with crows you just can’t shake.
1) Change your route. They can’t attack you if they can’t find you.
2) Use a disguise. Like an open umbrella. Seriously.
3) Stare them down. Crows are an “attack you from the back” kind of animal.
4) Erect a scarecrow or hang a plastic owl in your yard. Owls are one of their natural predators.
5) Go away for the spring and early summer. The attacks will likely quiet down in late July.
* Note, they don’t usually attack unless they feel threatened. Unfortunately, threatened can mean walking past a nest!