Attack by birds? Its not so uncommon after all!

Hi everyone,

After sharing the incident of how I was attacked by sparrows during my time in United States, I thought it would be interesting to find out if any research have been done to understand if human subsidization have caused birds to behave more aggressively in cities.

Though I did not find any papers or articles of people being attacked by birds for food, I found an interesting paper titled  “Attacks on Humans by Australian Magpies: Management of an Extreme Suburban Human Wildlife Conflict ”

The authors found in their survey that approximately 80% of the 749 people reported to have been attacked by Australian Magpies (Cracticus tibicen) in their lives. Australian Magpie, similar to blue jay, is widely distributed throughout Australia. They also found that higher percentage of males in their survey were attacked by Australian Magpies. The magpies often attack the head of their victims and incidents have been reported that some humans have even been blinded by these attacks. Advertisements with preventive measures had been put up to increase the awareness of the pedestrians walking in the open areas. Most researchers hypothesize that these birds might be view walking pedestrians as invaders of their territories.

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Though it is unrelated to the question that was brought up during the discussion, “If we put in more measures in canteens to reduce human subsidization, will Javan Mynas become more aggressive and attack humans over food ?”, It is still an interesting idea to ponder about since I have been attacked by sparrows over my sandwich before and this literature highlighted the problems that may arise if birds do start attacking humans frequently.

References cited:

Jones, D. N., & Thomas, L. K., 1999. Attacks on humans by Australian magpies: Management of an extreme suburban human-wildlife conflict.Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006), 27(2), 473-478.


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