(Germany) Flock of crows goes Hitchcock

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Thu May 29 09:57:00 EDT 2003


Flock of crows goes Hitchcock
By Ernest Gill in Hamburg
May 29, 2003

IN A real-life version of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, scores of crows have been attacking people in various parts of the German city of Hamburg.

There have been a dozen such attacks, the worst of which occurred at a large park over the weekend when about 20 crows "dive-bombed" park-goers, sending one woman screaming from the park with birds clinging to her hair, pecking at her face and ears.

Firefighters yesterday said more attacks were reported in another district of Hamburg, this time involving two women who said a flock of crows had attacked them for no reason. 

"The attack was the same each time," a fire brigade spokesman said.

"The birds would swoop down unprovoked and would sink their talons into the women's scalps. They'd hold on and peck their faces and necks."

Animal-control officers were called in and captured most of the crows, which were taken away for observation.

Experts were baffled. Some ornithologists noted that this is the mating season and that crows are protective of their young broods.

"It could well be that these people got too close to some nests and that the crows were simply protecting their young," said Dr Ralf Wanker, an ornithologist at Hamburg University.

Another expert said crows were becoming urbanised to the extent that they have lost all fear of human beings. 

The Daily Telegraph


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