Help! Crows are attacking me! - BC SPCA
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Help! Crows are attacking me!

April 8, 2024

Have you ever been swooped or dive-bombed by a crow? Although it is intimidating, crows aren’t attacking you they’re just being protective parents. Rather than “attacking”, this behaviour is simply a warning from the birds to stay away from their young. They will swoop down from trees, fly close and may even brush against you. The first time can be un-nerving, but once you know, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again.

Portrait of a crow up close, looking into the camera
Photo credit: Lea Goward

Why are crows dive-bombing me?

Springtime to early summer is crow nesting season and the crabby crows you may encounter are just anxious bird parents protecting their young.

Nesting season is a vulnerable time for babies and parents, with eggs and young chicks at risk of predation. This risk is amplified as fledgling birds begin to leave the nest. For their first few days, they can’t fully fly and rely heavily on their parents to keep them safe as they hop around on the ground and work their flight muscles.

Once baby crows leave the nest, they spend the first few days fluttering from branch to branch within their nest tree as they build up their muscles and flight skills. However, in cities, we often remove the lower tree branches for safety and visibility. This means these fliers-in-training end up down on the ground, often in quite exposed areas – which increases the need for vigilant parental protection to ward off danger.

Crow on a pipe cawing at nearby fledgling
Photo credit: Doug Alder

How can I protect myself when crows dive-bomb?

  • Temporarily alter your travel routes during nesting season to keep a little more distance around known nest sites.
  • Post friendly warning signs in high-traffic areas.
  • Carry an umbrella as a portable visual barrier to add a little extra distance between you and the concerned parents.

When does the crow nesting season end?

By July, the babies are well on their way to independence and the adults become much calmer at this point.

What do I do if I see a baby crow on the ground?

Many times, the young birds are fine to be left alone. However, if you spot a young crow in a vulnerable area, with an injury, or with no adult birds visible in the area, contact your local wildlife rehabilitator for assistance or call the BC SPCA Animal Helpline at 1-855-622-7722 for advice.

Crow flying over Vancouver seawall with view of city and beach

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