A feathered vandal attacked vehicles in a village car park – after the village scarecrow festival was cancelled.
The guilty crow damaged the windscreen wiper blades and exterior mirrors of vehicles parked in a Northgate car park, Almondbury, Huddersfield. And there have been reports of the corvid scammer vandalizing parked cars on Northgate and adjacent Westgate.
It might sound like the fiction depicted in Alfred Hitchcock’s horror movie The birds. But it’s not uncommon for members of the crow family, which includes ravens, jays, magpies, jackdaws, ravens and rooks, to attempt to steal rubber wiper blades for their nests.
Indeed, in January 2020 motorists in Braintree, Essex found their vehicles attacked by a crow they named “George”. The owners would chase George only to have him back as soon as their backs were turned.
Drivers were forced to cover their windshield wipers with plastic bags to deter George from pinching the rubber blades. Corvids are the most intelligent group of birds with an intelligence similar to that of a four-year-old human and they engage in mischief for fun.
This type of “attack” is thought to be most common between April and September, when crows are nesting and raising chicks. But short of putting a tarp over your car or a plastic bag over your windshield wipers, there’s not much owners can do.
It is not illegal to scare crows although it is illegal to harm them. Crows are protected under the Wildlife Act 1981 which prohibits intentionally harming wild birds or removing or destroying their eggs and nests.
Almondbury Councilor Bernard McGuin (Con) said: “There’s nothing you can do about it. They’re protected under the Wildlife Act… You can scare them away – that’s it.”
Residents have speculated that the crow may be exacting revenge for reducing overgrowth in the parking lot – or for humanity’s assault on nature.
Almondbury holds an annual scarecrow festival in August, but this year it has been cancelled.
Clr McGuin joked: “The funniest thing is there was a scarecrow festival last year but this year it was cancelled. It was a shame because it could have worked.”