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Q: Lately I feel like I live in an Alfred Hitchcock movie, instead of Tokyo. What’s up with all the huge crows in this country?

A: Arson. Assault. Theft. Vandalism. Disturbing the peace. Harassment. Stalking. Attacking a politician. Killing baby animals.

It sounds like the rap sheet of a street gang or a terrorist cell, but the thugs behind all this mayhem are Japan’s infamous black crows. These smooth criminals are a threat to children and adults alike, not to mention your Internet connection.

Their reign of terror begins at sunrise, with ear-splitting cackles that wake the city. They then tear into the translucent trash bags awaiting pickup on sidewalks, scattering garbage and creating a mess. With their bellies full, they begin another day of nuisance behavior.

The birds’ misdeeds include:

Starting a 2002 forest fire by dropping burning garbage onto dry weeds.

Snatching baby ducklings from zoos.

Swiping fiber-optic cable to build their nests, causing Internet outages.

Disrupting the electrical grid, knocking out power to millions of people.

The fearless feathered foes even attacked Tokyo’s governor on a golf course. He struck back with his club — and then with a controversial campaign to rid the capital of the pests by trapping and poisoning them.

If you think the crows have been more aggressive than usual lately, you’re right — during their May-June mating season, they’re more prone to attack in order to defend their chicks.

If you’re attacked by a crow, swing something to ward it off. You might want to leave the area — the wily birds have been known to come back with reinforcements.

Got questions about goings-on in the Pacific? E-mail willenbrechtk@pstripes.osd.mil


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