ROME — On a sunny Thursday afternoon alongside a tree-lined road in Rome, locals shielded themselves with umbrellas. Others pulled jackets above their heads in concern. Some grabbed picket sticks for cover.
The crows had been out and the struggle was on.
Two black carrion crows swooped down on the unprotected head of a girl passing by. They yanked her grey hair with their beaks and hooked her shirt with their talons. She swung at them with a purchasing bag containing frozen pizza, managing to shoo them away.
“They are everywhere,” the girl, Paola Amabile, a 66-year-old retiree, stated as she tidied her hair. “You must know how to protect yourself.”
Every spring, as Rome’s sprawling crow inhabitants is consumed with weaning new child fledglings, some streets turn into avian terror areas. The birds, defending their chicks, deal with most passing people as threats.
Romans already should deal with a plague of predatory sea gulls, and a deluge of chook poop yearly when up to a million starlings cease within the metropolis throughout their yearly migration from Northern Europe. The annual assault of the crows is one ornithological headache they might do with out.
“We hear people screaming from our office,” Martina Massari, an accountant who was attacked this week, stated from beneath a inexperienced umbrella.
“My mother no longer comes to visit me,” stated a lawyer, Elisabetta Giannubilo, earlier than grabbing a picket stick and working to her automotive beneath the menacing gaze of a perched crow.
“I cannot go to school through the main entrance because I am too scared,” stated Flavia Tomassini, 18, who was additionally attacked. “Go with a rifle,” her aunt shouted from the lounge.
In the residential EUR space, locals who dwell by one of the intimidating nests stated they’ve been asking the native authorities to trim the timber to maintain birds from settling there.
As folks start to re-emerge from a yr of being largely confined to their houses, the problem has gained some media consideration.
“Alarm in Rome,” learn the headline of Italy’s Repubblica newspaper. “The passers-by nightmare is back,” alerted the information website Romatoday. “Crazy crows attack passers-by,” said the Leggo newspaper. The writer of the article was additionally attacked by two crows whereas reporting the story, in response to the report.
In latest weeks chook conservation teams have obtained indignant calls from injured Romans who advised them that whereas a lot vitality was dedicated to defending birds, “no one cares about humans.”
Conservationists stated that individuals have to calm down and re-examine their very own conduct.
They stated many crows picked Rome due to the abundance of trash and mice they will eat. And people who select to feed the birds solely add to the issue.
Crows, like different birds, don’t dwell in nests the best way people dwell in homes. Rather, they assemble them in places primarily for the aim of breeding.
The crows are at their most protecting through the month or so a brand new brood is within the nest. It takes between 30-40 days for the fledglings to depart the nest, and through that point crows are recognized for heightened aggression.
Francesca Manzia, who runs the Italian League for Bird Protection’s rescue middle in Rome, stated that crows are sometimes fairly courageous and assault animals a lot larger than them.
“Hawks, eagles, even elephants if they were there,” she stated.
She added that a number of easy human changes might assist create extra concord between the species.
Humans can be suggested to not carry black luggage or put on black hats, she stated, as a result of the crows would possibly assume they’ve taken or harmed their brethren. Black umbrellas, she added, had been additionally a nasty thought.
In any case, she stated, the variety of crows attacking people made up solely a fraction of the inhabitants and are “not lions” — assaults often resulted in “scratches at most.”
Maria Daniela Lizzio, nonetheless, described witnessing a scene that appeared plucked from Alfred Hitchcock’s basic horror movie, “The Birds.”
Ms. Lizzio helped an older lady who was attacked as she walked to the church for her rosary session in Rome’s Torpignattara neighborhood.
Two crows swooped in with no warning and attacked.
“Blood gushed out of her head” stated Ms. Lizzio, 44. “Her T-shirt was soaked.”
The older lady now takes a protracted detour to go to church, removed from the crows and their chicks.