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Angry Birds: Crow attack season underway in Western Washington

They're the original angry birds - aggressive crows have launched their annual attacks on humans they perceive as a threat to their fledglings. (AP/file)

Like a bad movie sequel, the dive-bombing crows are back and launching their annual attacks on unsuspecting people across the Puget Sound area.

It happens at this time every year as young crows begin leaving their nests for the first time. The fledglings don't fly well and often end up on the ground, and crow parents are extremely protective, says University of Washington professor and crow expert Dr. John Marzluff.

"The parents are being defensive and trying to protect their young from what they see as potential danger," he says. "They'll give you a good wallop on the head if you even look up at them or make any movement towards the young bird."

Stories abound of people getting attacked around here by the original angry birds. A menacing crow hit KTTH host David Boze in the head several times over a couple of days until he fought back in a semi-futile effort to exact revenge with a tennis racket (he swung and missed, but it seemed to scare the bird away and prevent any further dive-bombings.)

A friend of KIRO Radio host Dori Monson was bloodied by a vicious crow in a harrowing and slightly embarrassing attack he described on Dori's show several years ago.

It's common in the spring and summer as crows and other birds build nests and establish territories, Marzluff says.

So what are you supposed do?

"You can use an umbrella to protect yourself or something works really well is face the bird that's attacking," he says. "They usually only come from behind, so if you look at the bird, they'll typically not do anything. It might get a little tiring walking backwards for awhile but that does work."

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife says you can also slowly wave your arms overhead to keep birds at a distance, or wear a hat or helmet.

The Seattle Times has been keeping track of reported crow attacks this spring and compiled a map documenting at least 11 separate crow attacks in the Seattle-area this week alone.

The good news is attack season only lasts until early July, Marzluff says. So you only need to be on guard for a few more weeks.

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About the Author

Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He covers everything from May Day riots in Seattle to the latest Boeing news.


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