Bird-on-human attacks are on the rise, according to multiple sources from across the globe, including joggers in Denver, researchers in Vancouver, and one man in Wales who turned to his local government for help after his home was attacked by sea gulls. (The town council suggested using umbrellas as a shield.)
These animal-human collisions are becoming so common in some parts of the world that residents are trying to track them; the Wall Street Journal spoke to the founder of the website CrowTrax, a community mapping tool where people can report aggressive crows. “Just about everybody has an example of a crow attack,” the tool’s founder Jim O’Leary told the Journal.
But a critically under-explored aspect of these overly assertive avians is
their motivation. These are not murderous birds; they are not hellbent on creating a war zone, as O’Leary described their behavior. If they have become a public nuisance, it is only because they are defending their families from—what else—annoying humans.
Us! We’re the nuisance. Are you surprised?
The BCC spoke to Andrea Jones, who heads up bird conservation for the National Audbon Society in California:
“The increase we’re seeing is because we’re encroaching on bird habitats. So there are more bird-human interactions,” she says.
Most of the incidents arise when birds are trying to raise their young. Nesting birds are very defensive of their chicks - “like a mama bear”, she says - and will even attack animals much larger than themselves.
If, increasingly, humans are on bird turf, they should play by bird rules. And as supporter of strong women and bodily autonomy (for birds), I respect a mama bird’s decision to do what’s necessary to protect her nest.
Journalists are creating a bonafide smear campaign against these strong bird mothers, and I for one will not stand for it. These birds should be our role models. If a goose ever threatens or succeeds in body-slamming you, ask yourself a question before you get mad: Did I do something to deserve this? If the answer is likely yes, walk away and own up to your defeat.