Thursday, April 1, 2010

What's going on? Crows attack passersby at Choa Chu Kang

 What's going on? Crows attack passersby at Choa Chu Kang
STOMPer Ong captured a video showing crows attacking passersby at Choa Chu Kang Street 1.

Said the STOMPer:

"I managed to capture a video of crows attacking and intimidating passersby at Choa Chu Kang St 51, beside the Chinese temple and the multi-storey carpark today (April 1).

"This is not an April Fool's joke, unless the bird is playing trick on us."

 What's going on? Crows attack passersby at Choa Chu Kang

Do check out the video posted on STOMP.

This is nothing new, and is most likely just a case of the house crows (Corvus splendens) having a nest nearby, and attempting to drive away any perceived threats. Crows are well-known for aggressively defending their young, and will attack any animal considered to pose a threat to their brood.

While such attacks are scary, and well-aimed pecks can draw blood, there isn't much danger involved, unless someone panics and flees into the path of oncoming traffic. Another really unfortunate scenario would involve a victim sustaining serious eye injury from well-aimed pecks. This post and this post from the Bird Ecology Study Group document 2 instances of crow attacks on humans.

However, crows can sometimes turn into extremely dangerous creatures. In 1963, a peculiar series of attacks occurred in Bodega Bay, California. A large number of western gulls (Larus occidentalis), American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) and ravens (Corvus corax) began to behave aggressively, attacking and even killing several people. The cause of such behaviour was never explained. One such incident was documented in this clip.

House crows are known to be fearless birds, and will not hesitate to respond aggressively to potential threats, even going to the extent of mobbing and chasing raptors and owls. Mobbing of predators is common among many smaller species of birds, but the house crow is particularly persistent in seeing off threats.

Here's a few examples showing house crows harassing and even attacking birds of prey:

Mobbing of Spotted Wood Owl at Toa Payoh
Mobbing of a Barn Owl
Black-shouldered Kite and the House Crow
Harassment of Black-shouldered Kites
Crows mobbing a Changeable Hawk Eagle
Crow mobbing White-bellied Sea Eagle
White-bellied Sea Eagle: 2. Attack by crows

P.S. Happy April Fools' Day.