“It’s not a pigeon, is it?” The bird crying in front of the house has become scary

“She was crying so loudly and flying around, I looked at her, we made eye contact, and then she shot me in the head with both feet.”

This is exactly what happened to office worker Park Mo recently when she was walking to work near a train station. The culprit: a crow. She said that she had never seen a crow in front of a train station before, but it was a ridiculous attack.

There are many other stories of people being grabbed by the hair or woken up by crows and magpies in the city centre.

Magpies [123rf]

Magpies and crows, along with pigeons and sparrows, are birds that live in close proximity to humans in urban centres. Since ancient times, the cries of magpies have been regarded as a welcome guest and crows as an ominous sign.

While the attacks of magpies and crows can be disconcerting, they have long since been classified as harmful to humans. In 2000, they were listed as noxious birds that cause damage to agriculture, forestry, and buildings.

Magpie and crow attacks are most common in spring. This is usually the ‘migration period’ when nests are built for laying in February and the young birds leave the nest to fledge in May and June. This increases the likelihood that agitated parents will attack humans.

Crow [Pixabay]

Property damage is also not uncommon. According to data obtained from the KEPCO by the office of Representative Lee Ju-hwan, there were a total of 133 power outages caused by magpies and other birds between 2018 and 2020. Of these, 93 (69.9 per cent) were caused by magpies.

The damage is even increasing. The number of power outages caused by birds increased from 33 in 2018 to 48 in 2019 and 52 in 2020.

In Jeju Island, more than 20,000 magpies are massively culled every year. This is because they peck at citrus and other fruit trees and are designated as an ecosystem-disturbing species. In 1989, 60 magpies were artificially introduced to Jeju Island, which had no magpies at all, and since 2020, the population has grown to more than 100,000.

Magpie house on an electricity pole [Image via internet].

Despite the increasing damage caused by magpies, experts believe that their numbers have not increased. There are few areas where magpies do not live, and they have been living alongside humans for so long that they cannot be accurately counted.

“Magpies are a species that can live around humans, so it’s possible that their numbers have increased,” said Sung Ha-cheol, a professor of biology at Chonnam National University, “but in terms of national distribution, it varies by region.”

Globally, magpie numbers have remained stable. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that magpie populations are stable worldwide, with no apparent decline in reproductive adult birds.

[United Nations].

Nevertheless, urbanisation is a prominent cause of magpie damage and conflict. As natural enemies such as snakes and birds of prey have declined, magpies and other birds have flocked to urban spaces where food sources such as human waste have become more plentiful안전놀이터, and the lack of greenery has led to damage to humans.

Samyuk University researchers tested the distance response of 36 magpies in six urban centres in Seoul from August to October 2021, and determined that magpies have adapted to urban areas. They also highlighted the role of urban forests as a habitat for magpies. Of the 59 magpies the researchers observed, 52 were found in urban forests, which was 7.42 times higher than the number of magpies found in the city centre (7).

“Wild birds play a very important role as top primary consumers in urban ecosystems where terrestrial top predators have been largely extirpated,” the researchers concluded, adding that the provision of habitat for wild birds in urban ecosystems is essential.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *