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Seagulls and crows in the city

Why are the seagulls and crows in the city so aggressive?

The defending of chicks with loud calls and feints is part of the natural behaviour of crows and seagulls. One aspect of the urbanisation of birds seems to be that in a growing number of cases, feints become actual attacks, meaning that the bird actually touches a person.

Seagulls will usually settle for swiping with a wing or leg, but crows may strike people’s heads with their beaks, causing wounds. If this happens, the wound should be thoroughly cleaned and you should make sure that your tetanus vaccination is in order, as with any wound caused by an animal.

Mother birds are most likely to attack when their flightless chicks are moving about on the ground. For crows, this stage of development only lasts for a few days, but for seagulls, it can take several weeks. However, the young will usually move to more peaceful areas of their own volition.

Constant human contact reduces birds’ fear of humans, and purposefully feeding them has the same effect. Maintaining the natural timidity of birds is one important reason to limit feeding in the summer.

How should I respond to attacking birds?

If a seagull or crow chick has set itself along a route, you should take certain precautions. The presence of chicks can be deduced from the swooping of mother birds, even if the chicks themselves cannot be seen.

A simple hat will protect against head wounds caused by possible bird attacks. Raising your hand above your head prevents birds from swooping near your head. An umbrella provides even better protection. In especially difficult cases, moving the chicks may be an option.

According to the Nature Conservation Act and the Hunting Act, protected animals must not be disturbed, but according to the Nature Conservation Act, every effort must be made to help a wild animal that is in a helpless state. In urban environments, a prolonged defence situation is naturally stressful to both the birds and humans.

If the decision is made to move the chicks, the procedure should be carried out by a person who is experienced in handling birds. However, the principal rule that chicks should not be disturbed still applies!



06.12.2019 18:33