Local version of 'The Birds' swoops in on Eilat

The city of Eilat has received a wave of complaints from residents about aggressive house crows.

The city of Eilat has begun its annual campaign to curb the local house crow population after receiving a wave of complaints from residents about the aggressive birds, including several of physical attacks on people, reports www.mynet.co.il. Over the past two months, the city has captured 366 of the birds and is asking residents to report further sightings. According to the report, the city begins to suffer from attacks by the crows every year as soon as the nesting season starts in April. House crows (Orev Hodi in Hebrew), so called because they tend to roost near houses, originated in Asia and become particularly aggressive during the nesting season, often attacking humans, animals and other birds. Over the past few years, the city has joined forces with the Nature and Parks Authority, the International Birding Center in Eilat and the district unit of the Ministry for Environmental Protection to tackle the problem by laying traps for the birds, collecting chicks and eggs, removing nests from trees, and firing air guns during any attacks. The report said that 366 mature and young house crows had been captured and that 85 to 90 percent of their nests had been removed from trees over the past two months. In addition, an educational campaign has been conducted to teach adults and children about the birds and how to deal with them. "The house crow is a species of invader that harms us and also local birds," a spokesman for the International Birding Center said. "We must not let the crow population expand and grow. We must reduce it in stages by preventing the development of the young generation, so that in the future the crow population will not be significant in the area. Invading species, with the house crow at their head, are the main factor around the world in the extinction of species of other birds and small animals. They cause grave damage to local birds while they are nesting or migrating." The spokesman urged residents not to feed the crows or to leave food out for them, saying they congregated in the greatest numbers and were most aggressive in places where food was to be found. A municipal spokesman said sightings of the birds or their nests should be reported to the city call center, which would act quickly to remove the problem.