What should you do when a crow attacks?
Frightened of being attacked by a murder of crows?
The angry birds are in the spotlight this week. Shin Min Daily News reported that crows at Block 110, Bishan Street 12 attacked 10 people within 20 minutes on Feb 13.
The Straits Times asks the National Parks Board (NParks) and Ms Anbarasi Boopal, chief executive of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), how the public can avoid being crow targets.
What are crows?
House crows (Corvus splendens) are common residents in cities and towns, and thrive in urban environments.
These black birds can often be found in food centres and rubbish bins scavenging for leftover food.
Often invoked in stories as omens of bad news, crows are among the most intelligent animals on earth. They can build simple tools to catch prey and remember human faces, which means they can sometimes seem to hold grudges.
Some people have reported rewarding friendships with crows due to their long memory, being brought gifts such as beads or bottle caps for previous acts of kindness.
Why do crows attack?
Crows can be intensely territorial during fledgling season, between May and June, when their young learn to fly.
The parents are very protective and would attack if a person gets close to the fledglings.
A less likely reason is a crow holding a grudge against a person. This can be accidental or a retaliation for an attempt to harm them in some way.
How should you protect yourself from crows?
Ms Boopal said that people can either wear a cap or use an umbrella to prevent unexpected strikes or avoid the pathway for a short period when a fledgling crow is sighted on a bush or on the ground.
She said: “We’d seek some understanding in these locations.”
Additionally, take an alternative route and avoid dense trees where crows are roosting.
As crows can recognise faces and target particular people, it is best to avoid the area they are protecting.
Shiny metal objects can be used to reflect sunlight at them to scare them off as the light makes it difficult for crows to see.
Playing recorded crow distress calls can also disperse them.
How to prevent crows from gathering?
Surrounding areas should be kept free of litter, with leftover food disposed in secured and covered rubbish bins. This prevents crows from gathering where there is easily obtainable food.
Fruits in trees should also be harvested or covered with an opaque material. Crows are omnivores and feed on insects, fruits, vegetables, rubbish and carrion.
Contact NParks’ Animal and Veterinary Service at 1800-476-1600 or submit an online feedback form at https://www.avs.gov.sg/feedback for the removal of crows’ nests in the neighbourhood.