Heads Up — Beware of Crows! Heads Up — Beware of Crows! | Shades of Crimson

Heads Up — Beware of Crows!

by Davina on June 14, 2009


The Wrath of Crows

A fresh light breeze was blowing, the sun was casting its gentle morning rays and I had planned some quiet reading time on my balcony. This was clearly not meant to be on account of one baby crow learning to fly.

In early June when baby crows begin learning to fly they become vulnerable to predators. I was distracted from reading by loud, frantic cawing and watched as unsuspecting passersby were greeted by a swoosh of wings when this parent crow swooped over their heads. Cawing madly, this crow followed pedestrians from tree to tree halfway down the block.

One after another, I watched their reactions. Some ducked and covered their heads. One woman screamed and ran. Another guy waved his arm over his head for a good portion of the block. A couple approaching from the other direction saw this and handbags were raised to shield their heads. (Why not cross the street?) Minutes later another woman stooped to pick up rocks — I was glad she didn’t throw them. One woman walked by with her umbrella up, even though it wasn’t raining. She was swooped too.

With the exception of joggers and cyclists, nobody was immune to this attack. Women with strollers, dog-walkers, the elderly, men, women and children were not spared safe passage.

I began to anticipate the swoopings and sometimes found myself chuckling  — I just couldn’t help myself — casually sitting in a front row seat to this modern-day screening of The Birds.

Nature Takes Care of Its Own

This continued for the better part of the day. That night I considered the baby might have been injured. I felt badly that I hadn’t investigated and perhaps moved it away from the sidewalk. This would have made everyone’s lives easier — the crows, the pedestrians and mine.

The next morning it started again at about 9:30. I caught a glimpse of the baby fluttering its wings in a shrub near the sidewalk. Good. At least it was okay. An hour later I was standing at my window watching people being dive-bombed by not one, but two crows this time.

I devised a plan and put it into action. After borrowing some chalk from my neighbour I proceeded to write “Beware of Crows” on the sidewalk at each end of the block. Then I returned the chalk, watched and waited.

From what I could see, most people ignored the signs. One woman stood on the street for a couple of minutes like she was waiting for someone, before moving on. I was waiting for something too. Can you guess what? A couple of more steps and she was dive-bombed. She ducked, screamed, covered her head and ran across the street. I remembered how much this hurt when it happened to me the year before, but I still couldn’t help smiling. My bad?

Thankfully this subsided after another hour. People continued to either not see or ignore the signs and passed by with no drama. The crows and their baby must have moved to another practice area.

Now, after all this birdwatching, this makes me wonder. Do those straw scarecrows really have what it takes? After this, I think not. Wild birds, especially crows will not be fooled.

Your opinion?

Have you ever witnessed this or been dive-bombed by a crow?

If you saw a sign like the one I made would you take it seriously? Why or why not?

Photo credit: Marxchivist

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Mike Goad June 15, 2009 at 5:02 am

Your opinion?
People can be funny and strange and birds can be interesting. Mix the two and … ;)

Have you ever witnessed this or been dive-bombed by a crow?
No. What I’ve noticed more is the air-wars where the slow, lumbering crows are attacked by smaller, faster birds trying to chase the crows away from the vicinity of their nests.

If you saw a sign like the one I made would you take it seriously? Why or why not?

I probably wouldn’t even notice it and, if I did notice it, I would wonder what philosophical point the writer-in-chalk was trying to make, not realizing that it was a real warning. ;)
.-= Mike Goad´s last blog ..Another new photo gallery – Mammoth Cave National Park =-.

Betsy Wuebker June 15, 2009 at 5:44 am

Hi Davina – I’ll bet most of them didn’t even notice your sign. I’m amazed at how oblivious people can be. I think some of us are more observant than others, but I still wouldn’t know what to expect if I did see your sign. What an entertainment for you, though?

I’ve definitely been divebombed by nesting birds. We would routinely get one in a hanging basket of flowers that I’d put up in the old house. The kids loved it! And at the cabin we’ve had swallows nesting in the boat canopy at one of the docks. They don’t like to be disturbed, either! I think bird behavior is fascinating, and I know crows are supposed to be among the most intelligent and social. Keep us posted!
.-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..HITTING THE GREAT RIVER ROAD TO GALENA =-.

Positively Present June 15, 2009 at 8:06 am

If I saw a sign about crows, I would get the heck outta there. I love animals and birds, but there is no way I would be down with a crow dive-bombing me. No way. I try to keep a safe distance from birds for this very reason, in fact!
.-= Positively Present´s last blog ..10 lessons from the classroom of life =-.

Vered - MomGrind June 15, 2009 at 9:23 am

Interesting story and interesting questions.

I probably would have ignored the sign… since it wasn’t an “official” sign.

Lori Hoeck June 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I’ve been dive bombed by a number of parent birds over the years, but not crows, so it’s not a surprise when it happens. This year, a goofy couple of birds — I don’t know what kind — decided to nest atop our porch light, which is inches from our front door and just above head height. They don’t like it when our indoor cats sit and watch from the door, but they’ve become used to the humans coming and going, and the babies are about to leave the nest. They are all very well fed because the parents can sit on the nest each night and eat all the bugs attracted to the light. OK, maybe they aren’t so goofy after all.
.-= Lori Hoeck´s last blog ..Self defense and kids — how-to for parents =-.

Julie June 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm

What a fun story! I love the way you write, Davina. :)

Witnessed this? Yes. Grackles would attack my coworker (just her, though; no one else) as she walked past a park-like area between the parking lot and office. We thought it was because of her waist-length hair.

Would I take your chalked notice seriously? Well, yes, if it’d been explicit: “Warning: crows will go for your head on this patch of sidewalk.” As written, I’d have been like Mike, wondering what it meant. But, even if I HAD known, I’d have walked there, anyway! …just for the up close and personal Nature’s moment experience. ;)

You had a fun bit of entertainment, one of amusement and philosophical thinking. Thanks for the afternoon chuckles!
.-= Julie´s last blog ..On That Note =-.

Cath Lawson June 15, 2009 at 3:25 pm

LMAO Davina – If I saw a sign like that, I would probably be too scared to walk down the street – “The Birds” film absolutely terrified me. I think the person picking up the rocks was definitely over-reacting though.

patricia June 15, 2009 at 7:26 pm

If I saw beware of the crows I would pay attention. I have two sets of crow parents on either side of my house cawing all day long and dive bombing the walkers. The parents love going after the baby squirrels too.
The worst dive bombing parents we have are the hummingbirds.

thanks for the fun view from your window – nice story gal!
.-= patricia´s last blog ..What is Marriage? =-.

Daphne @ Joyful Days June 15, 2009 at 9:40 pm


This was such an engaging read. I’ve not been dive-bombed by crows though there are many where I live and they are occasionally culled. They are really loud though, and scared of nothing, it seems.
.-= Daphne @ Joyful Days´s last blog ..Feng Shui Bonus: Enhance Your Love Life =-.

Caroline June 15, 2009 at 11:00 pm

LOL…I am sitting here chuckling! How funny. I love that you actually went and wrote watch for crows! I don’t mean to laugh…but with a front row seat like that…your one lucky duck (sorry…bad pun). What fun! BTW, if you haven’t figured it out, I have a very warped sense of humor!
.-= Caroline´s last blog ..Soulful Sunday – Love and Light =-.

Davina June 16, 2009 at 1:19 am

Hi Mike.
There is definitely a “pecking order”. I’ve seen something similar to what you’ve described; in this case it was crows dive-bombing eagles. I think you’re right about the chalk and that “philosophical meaning”.

Hi Betsy.
This was entertaining, especially the bewildered look on some of their faces — almost like watching an episode of candid camera. I agree, bird behaviour is fascinating. I adore birds, though I have to say I’m not too fond of the crow outside who starts his protest at 4:30 am!

Hi Dani.
I know what you mean. Seems intent speaks louder than size in this case doesn’t it :-) Plus, it hurts! Their claws actually scratch the top of your head sometimes. Happened to me last year — 3 times.

Hi Vered.
I was thinking about this after and as a few people have said, I probably wouldn’t have taken the sign all that seriously. I’d probably proceed with caution though. And you’re right — a sign written with chalk is not all that official. And with no date (I was running out of chalk), and no rain for days, no telling how long it had been there to a newcomer.

Hi Lori.
Smart birds! They’re well fed and probably toasty warm too :-)

Hi Julie.
You’re welcome :-) Funny how Grackles would only attack that one woman. I’d heard that crows tend to only dive-bomb men, but this certainly blew that theory out of the water. Yes, I actually had planned on writing more than Beware of Crows, but the chalk was wearing down quickly. I think we’d have walked together down this street… the daring duo.

Hi Cath.
You know, I’ve never seen “The Birds” and… it’s not on my list either. I wonder if that woman had thrown the rocks… she might have ticked the crows off even more.

Hi Patricia.
Two sets of cawing crows — poor you — I’ve been complaining about just one! And, hummingbird dive-bombers! I would have never imagined that.

Hi Daphne.
No they don’t appear to be easily scared off, that’s for sure. The neighbours have tried to clap them away from their balconies across the street, but it only makes them crow louder. They’ll even dive-bomb cats.

Hi Caroline.
Bring your warped sense of humour by anytime! Punsters rock too :-)

janice June 16, 2009 at 4:05 am

Hi Davina,
I’ve enjoyed your comments over at Tess’s place but this is my first visit here. Lori sent me over as she discovered I spent last month as a foster mum to a blackbird family, too. I really enjoyed this post and would definitely have paid attention to your sign. I’ve watched the daddy blackbird in my garden try to scare off everything from kids to crows. I watched helplessly as he was attacked mid air by something swift and swooping but he still made it back to the garden. I swear he gave me kudos, too, after he saw me scaring cats away for him.
.-= janice´s last blog ..Birds, Bees and Blogging =-.

Tess The Bold Life June 16, 2009 at 5:54 am

I would’ve ran the other way quickly. I think your front row seat was interesting. We humans do weird things. I wonder if we weren’t such a rushed society if anyone would have done anything different. Caw caw!
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..100 Unmaterialistic Joys for A Bold Life =-.

Dot June 16, 2009 at 6:57 am

That’s a fun story of how the birds protect their young. I’ve never been dive-bombed by a bird or seen anyone attacked that way. I’m with Julie — I wouldn’t understand exactly what the warning meant. I wouldn’t think crossing the street would necessarily help. I guess I’d write, “Watch for crows dive-bombing people.” Sounds pretty painful.

Liara Covert June 16, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Scarecrows have personalities and spirits like human beings and other creatures. When a scarecrow has low confidence, he would benefit from some of yoru uplifting motivational coaching. Whena scarecrow believes in himself, he has a completely different effect on crows and other birds.
.-= Liara Covert´s last blog ..Facilitate a dying wish =-.

Davina June 16, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Hi Janice.
Thanks for popping by to share your story. It’s satisfying to be able to help another soul, animal or human. That must have been a rewarding experience to help out that blackbird family. I too am willing to bet that this little guy was appreciating your help when those cats came calling.

Hi Tess.
That’s a good question. We are a rushed society, that’s for sure. Getting to point B from point A is so important. That crow sure offered up a distraction to everyone; but it made them go even faster :-)

Hi Dot.
I think you’re right. The sign wasn’t explicit enough — I was “chalk-limited”. Last year the local news reported a story about a man and his efforts to protect people from dive-bombing crows. He was warning everyone and having them cross the street. Although in this case, sometimes even the ones who crossed the street were not out of bounds.

Hi Liara.
What an interesting comment — Coaching a scarecrow :-) I can see what you are saying here. From my point of view… nature will take out the weakest link to keep the species strong.

Jocelyn at I TAKE OFF THE MASK June 17, 2009 at 5:23 am

I think it’s very sweet of you to have made the sign. If I saw one, I think I will be more careful and aware, and also thankful for the one who made the sign. :)
.-= Jocelyn at I TAKE OFF THE MASK´s last blog ..Let the Negative Things Inspire You! =-.

Davina June 17, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Hi Jocelyn.
I’m thankful that you would have been thankful :-) I bet if this became a regular occurrence, people would start to “notice” — just like branding I guess… it takes so many contacts with a message before people “see” it.

Tammy-Cricket June 18, 2009 at 6:04 am

Well, I guess I couldn’t live in Alabama without admitting “yes” to this. Each day when I walk out my door I usually get attacked by something. I am a huge bird feeder and watcher. They are so smart.

Would I notice the sign? Yes. Would I do what the sign said? Probably not. I would be cautious and enter just out of curiosity. I am like that. Not a good thing. I fear for my children because I believe they are both equipped with my “daredevil” nature.

What a lovely story to share. It places a smile upon my face. Nature does give us all sorts of gifts and there are not many of us that will stop to pay attention.
.-= Tammy-Cricket´s last blog ..Simple Things… =-.

Evita June 18, 2009 at 10:58 am

LOL – Davina you gave me such a good chuckle with this one! That is too cute! I would have loved to seen this in person!

I would LOVE to see baby birds learning to fly and no have never had the privelege of being dive-bombed. That was so nice of you to put the signs on the sidewalk, too bad it didn’t work for most, but I think that gives us another lesson here about human nature..

Anyway thanks for sharing this really neat experience!
.-= Evita´s last blog ..Scars =-.

Jannie Funster June 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I have not been dive-bombed by any birds (that I remember) but I’ve been chased by three rabid bunnies and a one-eyed squirrel on a skateboard.
.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..i winned! i winned!! =-.

Jannie Funster June 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Oh, and rammed repeatedly in the buttocks by a 3-legged goat.
.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..i winned! i winned!! =-.

Sara June 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm


At least you noticed what the crows were doing and then tried to help…then again that doesn’t surprise me knowing you!

Where I live, it’s not crows that dive bomb, but Mockingbirds. They will go after anything. I once saw one dive bomb a horse because she was near the nest! They will also nest over doorways, which can be rather intimidating for people trying to go in and out of a building. Thanks for this story…it made me smile:~)
.-= Sara´s last blog ..Fear Not =-.

patricia June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Oh Davina,
This morning on my long walk around the Lake I saw 5 crows ganging up on something at the furthest park beach but right on my route, I thought they might go after me so I darted around a street tree and in to the parking strip…I was rewarded with seeing that the crows were after a bald eagle perched on the far arm of the bench and not taking any of their grief to be dished out…It was amazing to be so close and watch the action…What a post you have here !
.-= patricia´s last blog ..Healthy Reading: The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite ~Dr. David Kessler =-.

Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching June 18, 2009 at 8:23 pm

I liked how you genuinely made this post about crows — I was waiting for what the crows represented or something but the lack of a metaphor for personal growth was refreshing. :)
.-= Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching´s last blog ..How To Escape The “Chicken Or Egg” Mentality =-.

Davina June 18, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Hi Tammy.
I think you are one pretty confident gal. You can take care of yourself and have probably raised your children the same way. They’re in good hands — yours and theirs.

Hi Evita.
It was pretty funny to watch. I’m sure the people being dive-bombed wouldn’t have agreed in that moment though. They had such bewildered looks on their faces. That was part of the humour. Last summer I had the privilege of watching a baby pigeon learn to fly. His parents were quite flustered through the whole process. Makes me think that these crows were probably feeling pretty hyper too.

Hi Jannie.
Okay, I’ve no idea when to take you seriously now! :-) A one-eyed squirrel on a skateboard? Nuts! :-)

Hi Sara.
Usually I remain the silent observer, so this was a new thing for me to “get involved”. I can’t imagine a Mockingbird being this way, or a hummingbird as Patricia mentioned earlier. Nesting over doorways to me seems that it would be risking getting pooed on. :-)

Hi Patricia.
It is fascinating watching nature. I’ve seen crows chase eagles before in mid-flight. What is so interesting is that the eagle barely seems to blink an eye over it all. But it sounds like the eagle you watched wasn’t taking any heat from those crows. And five of them! Must have caused quite a racket.

Hi Chris.
Thanks. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this pause from personal development :-)

LisaNewton June 18, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I must admit birds scare me a little, especially when they come at me in a flock. I know they won’t hit me, but still it’s not a fun experience.

Here in LA, people feed the pigeons, and sometimes run through a group of them and watch them fly off. Personally, I wouldn’t like my lunch interrupted, so I don’t do that to birds either. :)
.-= LisaNewton´s last blog ..A Guide to Walking the Venice Canals in Los Angeles =-.

Giovanna Garcia June 18, 2009 at 11:30 pm

I personally have never seen ‘Crows dive bomb’, only on TV like the funniest home video kind of things.
What I found funny was how most people ignored the signs. People today don’t pay much attention many things any more…O well, you did your part.

Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Davina June 19, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Hi Lisa.
It would be a little overwhelming and disconcerting to be “flocked”. Even though they’re not huge attackers, their intent is still obvious. I’ve seen people chase pigeons too. Not great for onlookers who are suddenly bathed in a shower of feathers.

Hi Giovanna.
We have become pretty complacent when it comes to signs, haven’t we? Unless they say “Sale” or “Free”. :-) Yes I did my part. I decided that rather than just sit there and do nothing, at least I did what I could. It was an experience.

Barbara Swafford June 21, 2009 at 1:48 am

Hi Davina,

So much for you having a relaxing time reading on your balcony.

I’ve never heard of this happening before (except for the movie, “The Birds”). I don’t know what I would have done, other than get out of the area as quickly as possible. The woman with the umbrella had the right idea.

Like you, I was happy to hear the baby bird was okay.
.-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..When The Conversation Moves Off Of Your Blog =-.

Davina July 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Hi Barbara.
This is the second time I’ve missed a comment in the last month. Gee whiz! My apologies. The crows are at it again today as I’m typing this (a month later). It sounds like a crow’s convention outside.

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