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from The Electronic Telegraph

Plan to cull scavenging crows makes feathers fly 
By Auslan Cramb, Scotland Correspondent
                    (Filed: 17/08/2001) 

                    CROWS that are terrorising the residents of a block
                    of flats by rapping on their windows looking for food
                    are to be shot.

                    It is thought the birds became "imprinted" to people
                    after being fed by builders while the homes were
                    being built at Barnton in Edinburgh.

                    Occupants of the £170,000 flats said yesterday that
                    the crows peck at their windows and bang their
                    heads against them and have not been deterred by

                    Dirk Heintze, 40, who has lived in one of the six flats
                    since January, said: "It's like something out of an
                    Alfred Hitchcock movie.

                    "They are massive birds, really ugly things. It sounds
                    stupid but it's really becoming quite serious. If they
                    don't sort this out soon I am on the verge of buying
                    a gun and shooting them myself.

                    "We think that when the flats were being
                    constructed the labourers used to feed the crows.

                    The building firm were quite upfront about it when
                    we told them the problem and said that was
                    probably why we were having all the trouble."

                    However, the locals have angered the Royal Society
                    for the Protection of Birds by arranging to have the
                    birds shot with an air rifle.

                    A pest control firm tried putting nets in front of the
                    windows, but the crows are still refusing to leave
                    the building alone.

                    A spokesman for Rentokil said it had now resorted
                    to using "humane" methods. He added: "Crows
                    exhibit learned behaviour and as such we would
                    strongly advise against feeding them as they will
                    very quickly learn to return. They can become quite
                    intimidating, especially to young children and the

                    But the RSPB said killing the birds was "extreme" as
                    they appeared to be "a nuisance rather than a

                    A spokesman said: "We think the banging on the
                    glass could be due to them seeing their reflection,
                    and because they are territorial they try to attack
                    the 'other' bird. The residents could try reducing the
                    reflectivity of the glass by putting up cling-film over
                    their windows.

                    "Crows are very social animals and if they were fed
                    when they were young, they would actively seek out
                    human company and have the imprint of people on
                    them. However, once the source of food disappears
                    they should eventually stop coming back."

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