Pied crows becoming a pest

Dr Mike Wright, Tokai

We have been residents in Tokai for only about eight years. In that time, there have been many universal and local changes. What used to be a nice, quiet, eco-friendly neighbourhood has certainly changed.

We have had to put up with an increasing level of road rage caused by those social anarchists, the taxi drivers. The SAPS has become increasingly aggressive in terms of their transport of people to Pollsmoor and it is only a matter of time before there is a serious incident related to their behaviour. Then everyone will say that something should have been done before.

But now we have another scourge: the pied crows. These aggressive and brutal birds have arrived and multiplied over the last number of years. My bird-friendly garden is no longer a sanctuary for the numerous types of birds that live and breed in the area. This morning, I watched in horror as two pied crows stripped a white eye’s nest and flew off with it, and presumably the chicks in it.

Can something not be done to get rid of these birds, which seem to have now taken over suburbia. Every time I see them, I feel a strong desire pick up a gun and shoot them, and I am sure that a lot of other people feel the same. I don’t want to sound barbaric, but I fear the continued survival of other lovely species such as the robins, thrushes, waxbills, doves and white eyes.

The City of Cape Town responds:

Pied crows are indigenous and have increased in number. These increases are due to human induced changes to the environment. Pied crows nest in alien trees, on utility poles and on buildings, they scavenge on road kill, and rubbish tips. Crows are highly adaptable, intelligent and opportunistic and have learnt to benefit greatly from human-induced changes to the environment.

The City does not actively manage the populations of pied crows or any other indigenous wild bird species. For a control programme to be implemented for an indigenous species, there would need to be sound research that quantifies any perceived negative impacts.

We do note that there is a lot of anecdotal observations with regards to the increase in crow numbers, but no research has verified or quantified the perceived negative impacts to our knowledge. This should be raised with the tertiary educational institutions as an important research need.

It is important to note that it is illegal to hunt any wildlife without a permit from CapeNature.

Seeing that crows are unprotected, a CapeNature permit would not be required. However, one cannot hunt in an urban area