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Beware of aggressive crows

Posted by Geeky Swedes on May 27th, 2010

Each springtime crows become loud, aggressive and territorial.

Deepballard writes this warning in the forum:

Was walking south on 32nd, just before 62nd, when a crow dive bombed me from a tree, attacking my head. I thought someone had thrown something at my head until I heard the wings and saw the crow flying back up into the tree. Has this happened to anyone else? I know crows are territorial- so look out at that corner (west side of the street).

The crow scratched Deepballard on the head and drew blood, which the poster cleaned up with hydrogen peroxide. Deepballard asks, “Anyone know if crows carry communicable diseases?”

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61 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Jlynn // May 27, 2010 at 8:11 am

    I was attacked a few years ago on NW 73 and Mary Ave while walking my dog. Luckily it just dive bombed my head…no blood.

  • 2 SunsetHillBob // May 27, 2010 at 8:32 am

    While going to school at the UW this happened to me, more than once, while walking on campus. I felt like I was in the movie “The Birds”. Don’t feel singled out–my large Melon seemed to attract the creatures.

  • 3 yes // May 27, 2010 at 8:40 am

    yes – I think they liked my shiny jacket – maybe they thought it was some shiny trash to pick up and eat… those crows are crazy

  • 4 Bark more, Wag less // May 27, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I wish you could shoot the ****ers.

  • 5 rehana // May 27, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Happens to me fairly regularly, but they’ve never drawn blood. They’ll veer off if you turn to look at them.

  • 6 battiato1981 // May 27, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Crows absolutely dive bomb humans when they are defending their nests. Some years ago it would happen frequently to me while coming and going at the Home of the Good Shepherd building in Wallingford. A pair of crows had built their nest high in a monkey puzzle tree near the main entrance and they would harass many of the people using the main walkway during day. Never drew blood on me though but I can see how they might, they would come very close to the head sometimes. A dive bombing crow is intimidating … but hard to duck when they do it from behind!

  • 7 name // May 27, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Cityfolk….Purchase a crow caller, and learn to sound the “alert” call…. the crow’s will leave you alone.

  • 8 Cindy // May 27, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I was bbqing steak last night. I ran in to grab a plate and seconds later I came out and they took a steak off the bbq that was on with flame! Crazy birds!

  • 9 CrowLove // May 27, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Never been attacked by a crow, you guys are obviously doing it wrong

  • 10 Mary Beth // May 27, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Crows only dive-bomb when their babies are fledglings who are nearby on the ground somewhere and aren’t good enough flyers yet to escape predators. You are momentarily being mistaken for a potential predator.

    THE MOST IMPORTANT THING — DO NOT strike out at a protective crow. They will recognize and remember you, and harass you for literally years afterward. This has been well documented. So please put up with the brief (May-June) dive bombing in order to have a peaceful coexistence with them the rest of the year.

  • 11 Have name // May 27, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Which animals eat crows? We need more of those.

  • 12 ballardmama // May 27, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Good advice not to strike out at the crow. Similar to roosters (not that it’s an issue in Seattle). Not too long ago when my real estate agent and I went to look at a farm for sale in Snohomish their rooster rushed out and attacked us. Figuring I was much bigger I just kicked it – dumb move. It then turned on my real estate agent and ended up ripping her jeans and gashing her leg. I’m thinking I may need a crow or a rooster as a watch dog.

  • 13 Steve // May 27, 2010 at 10:02 am

    They do this sometimes during nesting season if you get too close to a nest. Quite often one of their “children” is on the ground near where they are doing this. I’ve had this happen a number of times.

  • 14 BallardDINK // May 27, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Is it legal to shoot crows with a BB gun or slingshot?

  • 15 Edog // May 27, 2010 at 10:16 am

    I’ve been attacked twice, but this was before I lived in Ballard. They don’t bother me when I have the dog with me!

  • 16 Ballardemician // May 27, 2010 at 10:19 am

    let the crows be — not sure why some people hate them but they are pretty interesting animals IMO, super smart and social.

    Now the stupid flicker that drums on my ganvanized roof ducts at sunrise — fire away.

  • 17 yep // May 27, 2010 at 10:23 am

    yummmm. barbequed crow!

    I like to add a little jerk seasoning myself.

  • 18 SteveE // May 27, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I saw one the other day (60th and 24th) attack a smaller bird, take it to the ground and peck at it, then take it up to the gutters above and I saw feathers flying and only one bird leave. It was crazy to watch it.

  • 19 GregS // May 27, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Deepballard asks, “Anyone know if crows carry communicable diseases?”

    No, but I’ve seen them carrying twinkies, and those can be big trouble.

  • 20 Emily // May 27, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Crows do not carry diseases that are easily passed to humans. You’re more likely to pick up a generally bioavailable bacteria from talon scratches (i.e. something that was on the tree). I wouldn’t worry about anything catching.

    To all those who think crows should be shot, eaten or terrorized out of their homes: crows are intelligent animals. They know we (humans) can be cruel and unpredictable, hence sometimes striking out preemptively when their young are vulnerable. It’s nothing we or our dogs or cats wouldn’t do in the same situation. How many wolves, bears and cougars have been hurt to get them out of our general breeding grounds, even when they pose no “clear and present” threat?

    If you hear crazily screaming crows, cross to the other side of the street. They will understand this as you getting out of the way and as posing less of a threat.

  • 21 wawinegirl // May 27, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Crows are extremely intelligent creatures. Don’t lash out at them, they will remember. I had a crow that remembered me when I was younger and every morning would come sit by me when I was waiting on the gate by the driveway while my mom backed the car up. Uw studies 5 groups of crows and if you notice when the sun is setting large groups of these birds will come together for the night. I love them. Sorry you got hurt!

  • 22 Ryan // May 27, 2010 at 11:04 am

    It’s fledgling-learn-to-fly season. If you hear a crow squaking at you, cross to the other side of the street. If you see a small crow hopping around on the ground, stay away from it our momma will be bombing you.

  • 23 Lisa McG // May 27, 2010 at 11:09 am

    (1) when I was a kid with lush, super-shiny hair, several species of birds would, in the Spring, look at my noggin as nest fodder. for that, and for protective their young, I cannot and do not blame them. You drive too fast and too close to my kidlet in a cross-walk: you get the same treatment. ;)

    (2) Crows can also be charming and thoughtful. We have one born on our block two years ago who greets several of us as we return home. He even visited me at a nearby park one afternoon. His mother, who frequently used a neighbor’s birdbath (and used his tree as her nesting site), once flew down and landed at neighbor’s feet and delivered a rock that had a flower growing out of it — like a gift of thanks for the hospitality.
    – – -

  • 24 ballardcrab // May 27, 2010 at 11:36 am

    True Story: Last week-end I wasn’t feeling well and had been house-bound for some time. I looked through the window at my back yard and there on perched on the fence top, 7 crows all in a row! I laughed at the ‘omen’! That will make a person feel better in no time!!!

  • 25 Glassglug // May 27, 2010 at 11:40 am

    We’ve got two nesting pairs of Western Scrub Jays outside our building, and they not only dive-bomb, but then perch on the nearest branch and stare at you as if to say, “Are you looking at *me*?” The De Niros of the bird world. I actually like them.

  • 26 phinneynotballard // May 27, 2010 at 11:46 am

    What about crows that are aggressive year round? Is there any recourse that one has with the city?

    I understand that they are intelligent animals, but a certain point, they can be a nuisance and a public safety hazard. I’m not saying that we should kill off crows because they are annoying (well I would if I didn’t think I’d be crucified here) but when my wife can’t take our baby outside because they will be attacked (and again, I’m talking about outside of this wretched learn to fly season) I have a problem with what is going on.

  • 27 James Naylor // May 27, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Good luck trying to get rid of crows. Corvids are the smartest birds in the world.

  • 28 A Fan // May 27, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I got pecked on the head by a crow at right about the same spot last week! it was pretty gentle though, almost like a warning shot.

  • 29 Dave // May 27, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    If you see someone passed out on the sidewalk, it’s me after being dive-bombed by a crow. If I’m still breathing a glass of water would be great…thanks.

  • 30 WF // May 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I was dive bombed this morning. Thanks for the advice about listening for their calls. I’ll stay out of their way if I can.

  • 31 eric // May 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    do the crows have large talons?

  • 32 Smarp // May 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    After leaving NW Community Yoga early one morning, I saw several crows attacking a pathetic looking dog. I swung my yoga mat at the crows and they followed me home, swooping at my head every block or so. For the next month or so, those same crows would follow me to and from yoga….

  • 33 JoeBallard // May 27, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Not a big crow fan. They dive bomb people, poop on stuff, and make awful noise. Bullies.

  • 34 Manorite // May 27, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    This morning I saw two crows attacking, killing and eating a sparrow. They’re ruthless little a*holes.

  • 35 Lindsay // May 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Last summer a seagull knocked me on the head as it swooped down and stole a sandwich right out of my hands! I still feel violated!!

  • 36 BallardDINK // May 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    They *are* intelligent, which means they’re deliberately annoying. Animals that don’t know any better? They get a free pass. Animals that (apparently) hold grudges and wake up the neighborhood at the crack of dawn just for the cruel fun of it? No free pass.

  • 37 Paul // May 27, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    The crows on our street are vicious. They have attacked all the robin and small bird nests, dragging the babies to street to be ripped apart. The poor robin moms are left flying around, calling for their dead young. They might be smart, but they have decimated all the smaller birds on our block. Good riddance!

  • 38 Swedish G // May 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    This happened to me yesterday on 5th and Pine!

  • 39 mina&company // May 27, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    To those who don’t know this already, many animals eat other animals. It’s too bad they can’t buy their meat shrink wrapped in plastic, but that’s the way it is. As for those who think that somehow they can rid their neighborhood of crows – I suggest some respect for these amazing creatures. You might better put your energy toward trying to appease them. You’re likely to have more positive results — and perhaps the experience will pay off in the future in your relations with other human animals.

  • 40 JoeBallard // May 28, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Wait until a crow attacks a cyclist. Then all hell will break lose.

  • 41 bscowler // May 28, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Last spring I was walking west on Market, and just before the Subway a crow clipped my right ear with its wing! It ambushed me from behind, and I didn’t even see it coming.

  • 42 CripesInBallard // May 28, 2010 at 10:09 am

    To Manorite:

    Humn, so you witnessed a wild creature eating another? Do you prefer we feed them french fries in the MacDonald’s parking lot while we gobble down a dead murdered cow-between-bun?

  • 43 am // May 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

    This happened to me 2 days ago on 73rd and 14th in Ballard…the little b***ard waited until after i passed it and dive bombed my head from the back and then it landed on a light pole in front of me and crowed LOUDLY until I was farther down the block. Either one of its feet or a wing clipped the top of my head, but not enough to hurt or draw blood, though. Glad to see I didn’t imagine it…

  • 44 Betsy // May 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    When the fledglings are learning to fly they look a lot like adults (although I believe they have blue eyes instead of dark brown/black like adults). Until they get the hang of it they hang out in low bushes/on the ground with the parents watching nearby. Unless you see blood or an obviously broken wing – don’t approach to help an injured crow as it’s likely a fledgling and you will get dive-bombed by the parents and cause unnecessary stress to the youngster.

  • 45 CrowLeftOfAMurder // May 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I use aggressive crows to keep my five children in one room of my trailer when I’m away.

  • 46 Mary // May 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    My husband and used to have a crows nest in our back yard. They left us alone. If you feed them they will never leave you alone and used to follow me on my walk to work. I liked it.

  • 47 amigaboy // May 29, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I like crows (and all the sparrows at our bird feeder) – I just wish the crows would learn to eat pigeons – one pigeon could likely feed a crow for an entire week! And there’s NO shortage of those – give me crows anyday!

    during the big ‘snowmageddon’ last year, I was helping someone at the top of phinney in an old ‘mystery machine’ van (with bald tires – smart Seattle snow driver, that) back down safely after missing the light – and the crows stole my croissant on the TDM deck while I was helping! Who knew they liked french baking? :)

  • 48 Bernie // May 30, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    You are on the internet as you ask this question. Why not look up the information and post something that informs instead of just distracts?

    As to why it attacked your head, judging from your question, I’d say the crow might have thought you were dead from the neck up. Crows eat carrion. I learned about them in grade school.

  • 49 CrowMagnet // Jun 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    It’s really not too amusing after the the sixth time you get strafed by the same crow. No injuries so far but I hate thinking it’s just a matter of time. Hopefully a new direction home, though it will add 20 minutes to any trip, will do it. Will be mindful of their calls and hope this passes. Maybe a hat? Mask? Helmet and goggles? There isn’t much more I can do to appease it.

    Any additional advice would be greatly appreciated. I’ll also be back if I find out anything myself so people won’t suffer so much from the same experience.

  • 50 Becky // Jun 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    A group of crows is called a “murder” hmmmmmmm. They live all around my apartment and are very well mannered. I guess we got the good ones. Do enjoy them rather a lot.

  • 51 Kim // Jun 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Just had this experience while trying to walk into my own house. I tried a number of times, going back to my car and waiting, then getting out and trying to get to my door again. Each time, two of them would dive bomb me. When I would get back to my car, they would swoop at it.
    Still not back at my house…too scared!
    Do they hang out like that when it’s dark?

  • 52 CrowFood // Jun 9, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I got dive bombed at green lake yesterday. I don’t know why they saw me as a threat and none of the other joggers. I turned around and the same crow was looking to do it again. I gave it a dirty look and it left me alone.

  • 53 morgan souza // Jul 26, 2010 at 12:49 am

    I’ve been feeding crows for 3 years. I love them. They follow my car to the grocery store, to the doctor’s office. Last Friday they followed my car 45 miles to another city. I parked it and got on a plane for Hawaii. Now, I’m afraid they won’t be there when I return and won’t find their way home. There were 3 and they are a family of 7-8. I’m really worried for them. I get back at night, and will drive home in the dark. I’m really hoping they will be there when I return!

  • 54 Antonio Joseph Dowling // Jun 9, 2011 at 5:35 am

    I was attacked today on Capital Hill! (14th and Spring) I couldn’t believe it!

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