It’s breeding season, so look out for dive-bombing crows

Breeding leads to some wacky behaviour by animals across B.C. through the spring

The flowers are in bloom, the sun is beginning to make regular appearances from behind the clouds and the crows are dive bombing passersby.

It’s spring, which marks the breeding season for many animals across B.C., leading to some pretty wacky behaviour as they move to protect their newborns.

And while breeding season for crows isn’t quite as nightmarish as Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds, zoologist Wayne Goodey said it can quickly get intense.

“I have spoken to some people who say they don’t go out this time of year without wearing a hat,” said Goodey, a professor at the University of British Columbia.

“Which is probably enough to make sure you’re not going to get scratched, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get chased.”

Crow attacks have become a seasonal conversation in Vancouver. In January, adult birds find their way back to the nest they made the previous year, each time modifying it, according to Goodey.

And while that happens in the winter months, the aggressive defensiveness doesn’t happen until breeding season begins in March to June.

And once that starts, Goodey said, crows commonly defend an area around their nest up to one hectare in size.

Vancouver seems to be where the most number of crow-related chaos has ensued, even leading to a Lower Mainland professor, Jim O’Leary, creating an app so pedestrians can track and post the location of an attack, allowing others to know which areas to avoid.

“In Vancouver, especially in some neighbourhoods, population density is high; there’s lots of people walking around… these are all things that tend to increase the stress level for the birds, and they would be much more prone to defending,” he said.

Simply put: the crows will defend any potential predators from its nest, whether that be cats, squirrels, dogs or humans.

Between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, O’Leary said 68 people added their reports of crow confrontations to the interactive online map he and a colleague created in 2016.

He said June figures are higher than usual, possibly because March and April were cool and wet, delaying nesting and the crows’ territorial feints, flutters and outright airborne assaults that come with it.

Goodey said pedestrians should be aware of their vicinity to nests if they want to stay out of peck’s way.

“You just need to look up in the trees and see the nests,” he said. “The crows are not targeting you, or hate you… all they want to do is give you a reason to move on. If you keep moving once they chase you, you have no problem at all.”

But crows aren’t the only animals that get become more aggressive in the spring.

While deer breed during the fall, raccoons and skunks in rural areas of the province are also known to get defensive this time of year – especially in areas where food and other abundance is low, Goodey said.

“When they don’t have babies, they tend to avoid contact with people, but if they have babies nearby they will be quite aggressive towards people.”

Other animals to watch for are Canada geese and ducks, he said.

“Every year at this time there are lots of amusing YouTube videos that go up of people getting chased by geese.”

With a file from The Canadian Press


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

$21.5 million medical pot plant for Princeton

A $21.5 million medical marijuana facility - expected to provide 95 jobs… Continue reading

Seasonal cabins threatened by Cool Creek blaze

Fire burning out of control southeast of Princeton

BC Wildfire has close eyes on Snowy Mountain wildfire

BC Wildfire has a variety of plans depending how the wildfire near Keremeos changes in coming days

Fire burning near Olalla still out of control

BC Wildfire crews are responding to a 144 hectare blaze near Keremeos

Sparks set to fly in new Okanagan College welding facility

Welding students based in Penticton will now have access to the new, $2.2 million facility

More smoggy air for the Okanagan

Breathing conditions are improving, though still not ideal

Evacuation alert for Dark Lake Valley area

There are 21 properties are affected

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

Thieves target tires and rims in Shuswap

Salmon Arm RCMP report two recent incidents, a van used in one theft was stolen in Surrey

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

25-year-old Edmonton man pronounced dead on Shuswap Lake houseboat

Sicamous RCMP deem death to be non suspicious, BC Coroners Service investigating

Nearly 7 million late-run sockeye due to return to Shuswap

Officials hope promising Scotch Creek early-return bodes well for Adams River run

Most Read