EVERETT, Wash. — Police here have been dealing with a murder – a murder of crows, that is.
The angry birds have targeted the police department’s parking lot, and are swooping down and dive-bombing unsuspecting officers.
And even police, who are trained to handle extreme circumstances, were caught off-guard.
“It’s definitely an unusual situation, and one we’ve not encountered,” said Deputy Chief Dan Templeman.
“I saw the Alfred Hitchcock movie, ‘The Birds’, and of course, that comes to mind,” said Everett Police Capt. Mark St. Clair.
The scene outside the police precinct is not as dramatic as the classic movie, but it’s clear the brazen birds are aggressive.
“I opened the door, and he came hopping right out, then dive-bombed me,” said one employee.
“I turned, faced the door and then shortly after, one came close to my head – didn’t hit me, but came close,” said St. Clair. “Swooped me, yeah.”
And what’s worse, the birds use the officers’ own tactics against them. Take the tactic of diversion, for example. A bird will sit on a nearby fence as a diversion while the other one attacks.
“Very smart, the way they’re doing this,” St. Clair said.
And smart doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Experts say crows can recognize faces. They can also hold grudges, and even show it in a special way – “They will whitewash your car,” said St. Clair. And they work in tandem, recruiting other family members to help protect their young.
“Most crows die in their first year, which is why they’re so protective,” said University of Washington professor John Marzluff.
And that’s exactly what the crows are doing; their nest is plainly visible. Experts say once the baby birds fly the coop, the attacks should stop. So the police are taking a non-aggressive approach, at least for now.
“We are not fighting back on this one,” the captain said. “We are being good neighbors with our wildlife, and we’re not fighting back.”
Experts say the best thing to do is to use an umbrella as a deterrent. The last thing you want to do is harass the birds, because that could make you a target.