askST: What should you do in a crow attack?

Crows attacking a pedestrian near Block 110 Bishan Street 12 on Feb 15, 2023. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE – Frightened of being attacked by a murder of crows? 

The angry birds are in the spotlight this week. Shin Min Daily News reported that crows near Block 110 Bishan Street 12 attacked 10 people within 20 minutes on Monday.

The Straits Times asks the National Parks Board (NParks) and Ms Anbarasi Boopal, co-chief executive of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, how the public can avoid being crow targets.

What are crows? 

Crows are among the most intelligent animals on Earth. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

House crows (Corvus splendens) are common residents in cities and towns, and thrive in urban environments.

These black birds can often be found at food centres and rubbish bins scavenging for leftover food. 

Often invoked in stories as omens of bad news, crows are among the most intelligent animals on earth. They can build simple tools to catch prey and remember human faces, which means they can sometimes seem to hold grudges. 

Some people have reported developing friendships with crows and being brought gifts such as beads or bottle caps for previous acts of kindness. 

Why do crows attack? 

Crows can be intensely territorial during fledgling season, between May and June, when their young learn to fly. 

The parents are very protective and will attack if a person gets close to the fledglings. 

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A less likely reason is a crow holding a grudge against a person. An attack could be accidental or because there was an attempt to harm the bird in some way. 

How should you protect yourself from crows? 

Ms Boopal said people can either wear a cap or use an umbrella to prevent unexpected strikes, or avoid the pathway for a short period when a fledgling crow is sighted on a bush or on the ground.

She said: “We’d seek some understanding at these locations.”

Crows are very protective during fledgling season, and can also hold grudges against people they recognise. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

Also, take an alternative route and avoid dense trees where crows are roosting. 

As crows can recognise faces and target particular people, it is best to avoid the area they are protecting.

Shiny metal objects can be used to reflect sunlight at them to scare them off. Playing recorded crow distress calls can also disperse them. 

How to prevent crows from gathering? 

An NParks staff member catching a crow which appeared to be injured near Block 110 Bishan Street 12 on Feb 15, 2023. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Surrounding areas should be kept free of litter, with leftover food disposed in secured and covered rubbish bins.

Fruits in trees should also be harvested or covered with an opaque material. Crows are omnivores and feed on insects, fruits, vegetables, rubbish and carrion. 

Contact NParks’ Animal and Veterinary Service on 1800-476-1600 or submit an online feedback form at for the removal of crows’ nests in the neighbourhood.

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