News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Why are huge crows attacking my head?

June 27th, 2010 · 10 Comments

Photos courtesy Simone Lupson-Cook

Ever wonder why the crows in your neighborhood suddenly start frantically cawing at you, dive bombing you and possibly even hitting you in the head as you innocently walk down the block?

Simone Lupson-Cook, a Maple Leaf resident and falconer who has previously written here on local owls, has some answers.

Simone continues:

May and June are important months for our local crows. Their babies are fledging (i.e. coming out of the nest and learning to fly) and are very vulnerable at this stage. The adults are trying to keep predators away from the young as they learn what is and isn’t safe.

Many crows live in family groups. There is a main pair but their offspring from previous years may help raise their younger siblings. This is why you might have more than just two crows yelling at you as you walk down the block.

Some research suggests this is so they are more prepared when their time comes to breed, or perhaps there aren’t enough resources for them to have their own territory until other pairs move on or die.

If you are harassed by crows make note of the location and perhaps try to avoid that part of the block for a couple of weeks.

I’ve read many angry comments directed at crows this time of year, but please don’t hate them for being good parents. Respect their parenting instincts and before you know it they’ll be back to quietly keeping an eye on you.

Crows rank high on the list for avian intelligence, and new research suggests they are on par with great apes in some aspects of their intelligence. They not only use tools (like great apes) but make them too (unlike great apes, except ourselves).

Simone also posts on birds and the natural world at Wingtrip. She has started writing about a recent trip to Costa Rica here.

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