By Robert A. Vella

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1963 horror flick The Birds told the chilling tale of a small, sleepy, picturesque Northern California town (Bodega Bay) besieged by thousands and thousands of crows and seagulls who – for some never explained reason – became aggressively hostile towards humans.  Attacking en masse, the angry birds sacrificed themselves like Kamikazes destroying everything in sight, injuring and even killing the shocked and confused people.  Young people today probably wouldn’t appreciate this film, but it was masterfully frightening at the time as well as critically acclaimed by the motion picture industry.  It had such an impact that the Library of Congress preserved the work in its National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Still, The Birds was pure fiction.  Real birds do not make a habit of attacking people, not in large numbers anyway.  Sure, there are random incidents occasionally.  Eagles have been known to prey upon small children and are quite capable of preying upon even bigger creatures.  Many bird species will attempt to drive off large animals they think pose a threat to their nest.  Blackbirds have been known to act aggressively towards humans for no apparent reason.  Highly intelligent ravens and crows have been reported attacking people in retaliation for being harassed by them.

But, the following true story from British Columbia does invoke memories of the Hitchcock classic.  From:  Vancouver college’s crow-attack map collects thousands of reports

It was a crow fiercely protecting its nest – and repeated complaints of it dive-bombing and swooping – that prompted the idea.

“Just about every day someone would come in and say, ‘I got smacked in the back of the head, or Mary got smacked in the back of the head,’” said Jim O’Leary, a teacher at Langara College in Vancouver, Canada.

“I was thinking to myself: I know crows are smart but we’re pretty smart too. Isn’t there something that I can do about this?”

The result was CrowTrax, an online tool that since 2016 has documented about 2,500 crow attacks in the Metro Vancouver region, nearby Victoria and around the world.


Within hours of launching the site, reports began pouring in. About 1,000 anecdotes came in during the site’s first year, increasing to 1,500 the next year.

The deluge, particularly the many from across Metro Vancouver, surprised O’Leary. “I don’t know if crows are more aggressive in certain spots than others,” he said. “It just seemed to be something which we experience here in Vancouver quite a bit,” he added, pointing to the city’s tall trees and concentration of rubbish bins as a possible explanation.

The site only accepts reports during the spring, or what O’Leary referred to as crow attack season – the period of typically eight to 10 weeks each year when crows are focused on protecting their eggs or young fledglings.


“Many of the reports are the same, ‘the crow attacked me from the back, hit the side of my head,’” he said. “Some of them are kind of scary. People are saying ‘a whole pack of crows followed me down the block and I had to go inside’.”

16 thoughts on “The Birds!!!

    • I’m sure crows are more intelligent than we think. I had a “conversation” with a crow once that lasted about 5 minutes. It was up in a tree and I was down below. I’m convinced the crow understood what was being said whereas I did not – lol!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Corvids including crows are super smart birds. They can remember and find, specific people based on individual human characteristics, who do bad things to them for many years after the dastardly deed. If people could remember and find specific crows who do bad things to them for many years, then people would be as smart as crows. But sadly, we are not. Mark Twain did note the rather tricky nature of corvids in his essay, “Corvids and Congressmen,” and correctly noted, that in terms of deportment, crows and politicians have lots in common. But, of course, crows are much smarter than politicians.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Love it! Like I related to Ros, I had a 5 minute “conversation” with a crow once. I had absolutely no idea what was being said, but I’m sure the crow did. It was a strange and memorable experience. If we were arguing, I think it won the “debate” – lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. PS- Oh, and re: the complicated Vancouver crow behavior, if a crow attacks you because you walked under its nest. Don’t walk under its nest. This reminds me of a plastic surgeon botox-type Harvard educated physician I know. He made the national news because he approached a nesting red tail hawk on her nest on his property and was soundly attacked, requiring careful suturing to not wreck his cosmetic surgery practice good looks. What didn’t make the news, and what really puzzled me, was he did the same exact thing the next year to the same result.
    He endeavored to rid his property of said hawk, but discovered this was illegal and since the hawk was now more famous than he, his hands were, in effect, tied.
    Score two rounds for the hawk.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I’ve been dive bombed by either swallows or swifts when crossing a small bridge, under which they were nesting. In that case it was unavoidable since there was no way to get to the other side of the creek.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I know crows are definitely more intelligent than many humans, particularly those who vote republican. They are smart enough not to commit mass suicide of their species (as well as others). Republican voters are not.

    I don’t care what people say about human intelligence. If you embrace violence as a way of “life” and aren’t smart enough to understand when you’re committing suicide you’re near the bottom of the scale of intelligence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another thought: I loved the movie “The Birds” as a kid. I think a remake set in the middle of this century in which the cause of the aberrant behavior of the birds is caused by environmental damage done by humans would be a great movie. Toxic water, food devoid of nutrition and poisoned air contributing to damage to internal organs – especially brain damage…

    If I had millions I’d do it myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know if that was on Hitchcock’s mind when he made the movie, but it does come through as an implied message. Old Alfred was the master of subtly conveying powerful thoughts and emotions through film.

      Liked by 1 person

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