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Angry birds a torment

Tuesday, 9th April, 2013

Daryl Hoskins says Sulphide Street isn’t safe since the crows moved in. Daryl Hoskins says Sulphide Street isn’t safe since the crows moved in.

By Kurtis J Eichler

Unsuspecting pedestrians strolling near the hospital are being attacked by crows.

People living in the Sulphide Street block between Thomas and Williams streets say the angry birds have been at it for six years.

Daryl Hoskins said the problem has got so bad he is now driving his wife to and from work a block away.

“They are a big problem,” Mr Hoskins said. “They are dangerous to the old people, the young people and they attack everybody.”

Mr Hoskins says every year he makes phone calls to the police, council and National Parks in the hope of having them relocated.

He says National Parks fixes signs to the power poles but they were no use because the birds “can’t read them.”

“It’s not even breeding season, so what are they going to be like during breeding season?”

The birds don’t just zero in on humans.

Neighbourhood pets including Mr Hoskins’ three-year-old Lhasa Apso dog are also tar- gets.

“I found him underneath the trailer one day and the birds were circling above it.”

Crows breed from August to October and sometimes from January to February.

Avoiding the area, keeping eye contact with the birds or hold- ing an umbrella or stick can often stop their attacks.

Animal behaviour professor Gisela Kaplan of the University of New England said it was rare for crows to swoop.

Prof. Kaplan said the birds may have had a bad experience when a passerby has hurled rocks or sticks at them.

“Crows or ravens are highly intelligent and have a very long memory.

“They might remem- ber people who were terribly nasty to them and they are very dangerous.”

If humans up their attacks, the birds would retaliate, she said.

“It’s like Palestine and Israel - the more bombs they drop the more bombs that fall.”

The problem is reversible if residents look them in the eye and leave out mince meat for them to eat.

National Parks and Wildlife yesterday said a number of reports had been made about the aggressive birds.

A spokesman said crows were not a protected species.

“If there’s enough response to the birds, something should be done.”

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