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 worry. Some grabbed wood sticks for cover.
The crows had been out and the battle was on.
Two black carrion crows swooped down on the unprotected head of a lady passing by. They yanked her grey hair with their beaks and hooked her shirt with their talons. She swung at them with a buying bag containing frozen pizza, managing to shoo them away.
“They are everywhere,” the lady, 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 grow to be 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 hen poop yearly when as much as one million starlings cease within the metropolis throughout their yearly migration from Northern Europe. The annual assault of the crows is one ornithological headache they may do with out.
“We hear people screaming from our office,” Martina Massari, an accountant who was attacked this week, stated from underneath a inexperienced umbrella.
“My mother no longer comes to visit me,” stated a lawyer, Elisabetta Giannubilo, earlier than grabbing a wood stick and working to her automobile underneath 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 probably the most intimidating nests stated they’ve been asking the native authorities to trim the bushes to maintain birds from settling there.
As folks start to re-emerge from a yr of being largely confined to their houses, the difficulty 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 web site Romatoday. “Crazy crows attack passers-by,” acknowledged the Leggo newspaper. The creator of the article was additionally attacked by two crows whereas reporting the story, in response to the report.
In latest weeks hen conservation teams have obtained indignant calls from injured Romans who informed them that whereas a lot power was dedicated to defending birds, “no one cares about humans.”
Conservationists stated that individuals have to loosen up and re-examine their very own habits.
They stated many crows picked Rome due to the abundance of trash and mice they’ll eat. And people who select to feed the birds solely add to the issue.
Crows, like different birds, don’t dwell in nests the way in which people dwell in homes. Rather, they assemble them in places primarily for the aim of breeding.
The crows are at their most protecting throughout the month or so a brand new brood is within the nest. It takes between 30-40 days for the fledglings to go away the nest, and through that point crows are recognized for heightened aggression.
Francesca Manzia, who runs the Italian League for Bird Protection’s rescue heart in Rome, stated that crows are sometimes fairly courageous and assault animals a lot greater than them.
“Hawks, eagles, even elephants if they were there,” she stated.
She added that just a few easy human changes might assist create extra concord between the species.
Humans could be suggested to not carry black luggage or put on black hats, she stated, as a result of the crows may suppose they’ve taken or harmed their brethren. Black umbrellas, she added, had been additionally a foul concept.
In any case, she stated, the variety of crows attacking people made up solely a fraction of the inhabitants and are “not lions” — assaults normally resulted in “scratches at most.”
Maria Daniela Lizzio, nevertheless, described witnessing a scene that appeared plucked from Alfred Hitchcock’s traditional horror movie, “The Birds.”
Ms. Lizzio helped an older girl 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 girl now takes a protracted detour to go to church, removed from the crows and their chicks.