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Birds
Everett Herald, June 9, 2011

Crows take aim at cops outside Everett's north precinct
Everett police say they've been dive-bombed. A scientist says it's a time of aggressive behavior by birds with offspring.

By Rikki King

EVERETT -- The cops in Everett have a new beef, and it's with the birds.

A trio of crows has set up shop in a tree in the parking lot next to the Everett Police Department's north precinct.

A few days ago, the crows decided they didn't like the cops. They started swooping down on them and dive-bombing them as the officers walked from their cars into the station.

Everett police Lt. Bob Johns recently was flanked by them and "got zinged," he said.

"They're like velociraptors," he said.

At least one officer has tried using his siren to scare the crows away: They responded by decorating his car with droppings.

The crows don't care much for rank, either -- they've gone for top brass and detectives in particular, police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.

This is the season for aggressive crow behavior, said Ruth Milner, a biologist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Baby crows have been kicked out of the nest, or will be soon, she said. The immature birds are learning to fly and often are still being fed by their parents.

Adult crows are quite protective of helpless young on the ground, she said. It's a common trait among larger birds and birds of prey.

"All they're doing is defending their nest," she said.

Crows also can recognize people's individual features. And they hold grudges.

"If your cops have done something that (the crows) perceive as a threat, they could be keying in on them because they're all wearing the same kind of uniform," she said.

The cops aren't the only victims, Everett city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.

The same parking lot is used by city employees, she said. At least a dozen have encountered the angry crows, and some have complained about being attacked.

Police and other city employees have agreed to let the crows be, she said. They don't want to disturb the nest, so they're going to be more cautious and wait out the crow aggression period. Umbrellas may be used as a defense tactic.

Copyright © 2011 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, Wash.

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton