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Proving Hitchcock Right, Bird Attacks Are Turning Violent This Summer

Red-winged blackbirds and other species are stepping up divebombing attacks on humans.

Fleming Smith reports: Stephen Vedder used to enjoy peaceful lakeside runs near his Marlborough, Mass., home. This spring, after years of coexisting with an ornery neighbor, those tranquil outings came to an end.

The culprit was a red-winged blackbird.

More than 250 million of the birds live across North and Central America, and this summer some are feeling extra aggressive toward human neighbors—driving them to change walking routes, wear protective headgear or furiously wave arms above their heads as they jog.

“You talk to people about being attacked by birds, and they look at you like you’re crazy,” says Mr. Vedder, a 60-year-old programmer. “This is ‘The Birds’ all over again, but it’s real!”

Many people who have long lived in harmony with the birds have noticed an uptick in their aerial assaults this season. Bird-on-human attacks are growing more common as people encroach on their habitats, says Lori Naumann, information officer at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Hitchcockian Crows of Vancouver

(BEN NELMS for National Post)

(BEN NELMS for National Post)

VANCOUVER — Every day at dusk, thousands of crows across Vancouver drop what they are doing, take to the air and head east.

The effect is a blackening of the skies over east Vancouver as the crows loosely follow the SkyTrain to a nightly meeting point in central Burnaby where they crowd wing-to-wing for warmth and protection and intricately plot out the parks, beaches and alleys they will scour for food come morning. Read the rest of this entry »