Officers at a Seattle-area police department have found themselves in a flap with some unusual suspects: an angry flock of birds.
Crows have been attacking police in the parking lot of an Everett Police Department precinct station. They've been swooping down and dive-bombing the officers as they walk to and from their cars.
Lt. Bob Johns said he recently was flanked by the aggressive birds and "got zinged."
"They're like velociraptors," Johns said.
One officer used his siren to try to scare away the crows, but it didn't work. The birds responded by decorating his car with droppings, The Daily Herald reported.
State Fish and Wildlife Department biologist Ruth Milner said the birds are simply protecting baby crows that have been kicked out of the nest and are learning to fly. Adult crows are quite protective of their young — a common trait among larger birds and birds of prey.
"All they're doing is defending their nest," Milner said.
She noted crows also can recognize people's individual features. And they hold grudges.
"If your cops have done something that (the crows) perceive as a threat, they could be keying in on them because they're all wearing the same kind of uniform," Milner said.
In addition to the officers, at least a dozen city employees have encountered the angry crows, and some have complained about being attacked, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said. But she said police and city workers have agreed to let the crows be, and wait out the aggression.
She said the employees will be cautious but can use umbrellas to defend themselves if need be.
Everett is about 25 miles north of Seattle.
Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com