The Guard-Crow

(July 16, 2012 , posted in Local Interest)

I never imagined when I started in this career that it would lead me on this interesting path...One of the properties that I have listed in West Vancouver, 2372 Bellevue,  comes complete with its own Guard-Crow.  I have heard of this phenomenon - crows protecting their territory, but had really never believed the stories of crows attacking people.  I have certainly witnessed them in groups attacking much larger birds - I once saw a bunch of crows scare off a Bald Eagle on Dundarave beach in West Vancouver, and it was quite something to see.  The Eagle was HUGE and eventually gave up because 5 or 6 crows were trying to scare it away. 

I had been to the property several times and had never had a problem.  In West Vancouver there is certainly a lot of wildlife (sometimes known as pests) because there is an abundance of food and water available. Oh, and we now have those "food scrap" bins...but I will get to that later.  On this particular beautiful early summer day I arrived to meet clients for a showing.  I got there first and proceeded to walk around the property and after a few minutes noticed that a crow sitting on the chimney of the house was making an awful lot of noise. It started flying around and on each pass got nearer and nearer to me.  Then it swooped down, clawed my head and continued on, as if it was just an accident...well, after this had occurred several times I realized this was NO accident, so I took off trying to outrun the crow.  This maneuver was not very effective, as it put me right into the middle of the street - and the crow - I call him Garfunkel - seemed to be quite aware that I was right where he wanted me. 

By this time, the clients had pulled up and witnessed some of this event and told me that the crow was definitely attacking me.  I had hoped that with more people there the crow would back off but to no avail.  It continued to try and attack all of us.  I'm sure if anyone could have seen us, it would have been quite hilarious to see 6 adults huddling under the overhang looking at the view of Stanley Park and Vancouver, while trying to avoid ONE crow. 

After I left it occurred to me that this could quite likely have been a one time event.  Perhaps the crow just didn't like whatever outfit I was wearing that day?  The next day I ventured there again and had pretty much the same reaction, only this time it was clear the crow recognized me immediately.  I had brought an umbrella because that way he couldn't attack my head. 

At this point I figured I had better do some research on how to get rid of a crow so I went back to the computer and started to do some searching.  I figured there were two options:  to make friends with the crow, or shoot it.  I am quite certain I could never intentionally harm any animal I set about researching how to charm a crow. The answer was actually quite easy.  Unsalted, in the shell peanuts.  I went to the local IGA in Dundarave and bought the biggest bag I could find.  As I approached the property I used my umbrella as cover, holding out my hand and making sure the crow could see the peanuts.  I could tell he did because he flew from the roof to a tree close by where I was standing and just stared at me.  This went on for some time, neither one of us wanting to let the other win.  I threw a few peanuts down on the ground and waited.  I stepped back a few feet, and that crow watched me the whole time.  I walked across the street to my car and watched as he quickly dropped down, scooped up all five in the shell peanuts and flew back up to the roof. 

From that day on the crow and I have gotten along just fine.  I always take peanuts with me, but don't need the umbrella anymore.  I always knew they were smart birds but was surprised at how quick and easy it was to get on their good side was a little unnerving. 

At least now I will now what to do if I ever encounter this problem again.