ROME — On a sunny Thursday afternoon alongside a tree-lined avenue in Rome, locals shielded themselves with umbrellas. Others pulled jackets above their heads in worry. Some grabbed picket sticks for cover.
The crows had been out and the combat 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 buying 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 take care of a plague of predatory sea gulls, and a deluge of fowl poop each year 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 may 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 automobile 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 crucial 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 year of being largely confined to their properties, 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,” acknowledged the Leggo newspaper. The creator of the article was additionally attacked by two crows whereas reporting the story, in keeping with the report.
In current weeks fowl conservation teams have acquired offended calls from injured Romans who informed them that whereas a lot vitality was dedicated to defending birds, “no one cares about humans.”
Conservationists stated that individuals must chill out and re-examine their very own conduct.
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 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 throughout the month or so a brand new brood is within the nest. It takes 30 to 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 heart in Rome, stated that crows are usually fairly courageous and assault animals a lot greater than they’re.
“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 could be suggested to not carry black luggage or put on black hats, she stated, as a result of the crows may assume they’ve taken or harmed their brethren. Black umbrellas, she added, are additionally a nasty 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, 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.