Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BIRDS 3

On the topic of crows, a few days ago I received an email with a remarkable story from Lorin, who's kindly allowed it to be reposted here.

I spent the summers of my youth in San Diego, home to the most remarkable zoo in the US. Most of the animal, ahem, "habitats" are open areas separated from the spectators by a wide crevasse, allowing seagulls to drop in and pillage the animals' feed. The gulls had also taken to the picnic areas, and they were not the least bit intimidated by my paltry efforts to shoo them away from my french fries. Not to anthropomorphise, but as I blocked a large gull's swipe at my food, it gave me a look as if to say, "How DARE you?!"

20 years later I had myself attacked by crows at a golf course.

While conducting a bit of online research on crows (mindblowing info, by the way) I stumbled across this tape.

Crows operate a bit like the Hell's Angels. When one is in a fight, the entire gang rushes in to bring the pain. The specific call to action is exploited by crow hunters* who wish to wipe out an entire murder of crows with one or two shotgun blasts. I'm not a hunter, but I did find a use for this tape. Wearing a motorcycle helmet and a thick jacket for protection, I went to a golf course that had hundreds of crows on the premises. I played the tape through a portable stereo and within minutes I was mobbed upon by a storm of black birds. They wised up quickly ... the attack was abandoned when no distressed crow could be found. While I was physically unharmed, the real-life Hitchcock moment left a psychic imprint which chills me to this day. I like to think that I emboldened them, and that some of the golfers that usurped the crows' home received a peck in the eye.

BIRDS 2
BIRDS 1

6 comments:

Luke McElroy said...

I've been swooped by Australian Magpies a number of times while cycling. It can be quite a frightening experience so I'm not sure I'd be game to test out that tape even with protective clothing!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Magpie#Swooping

Abby said...

I was in the basement of the Yale Peabody museum a couple of weeks ago. While rummaging through the drawers looking for extinct flightless birds I came across a Terror Bird skull. It sent a chill down my spine. Lucky for us they are extinct: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/172/368424021_237f8a3d3a.jpg

William Bennett said...

wow, I see what you mean - I imagine it'd want more than your ice cream cone...

Nebular Mammal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nebular Mammal said...

Hungry ravens kill fourteen calves in central Sweden!

http://www.thelocal.se/19432/20090513/

palaeologos said...

Interesting talk about crows, touching on their intelligence & behavior, here : http://www.ted.com/talks/joshua_klein_on_the_intelligence_of_crows.html