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When Crows Attack

One man is on a mission to map bird-on-human aggression around the world.
Don't mess with me.
Don't mess with me.Gleb Garanich/Reuters

There’s a reason Jim O’Leary goes outside wearing a hat. That reason was demonstrated last month in Vancouver when he was walking to work and heard a screech, then felt something suddenly swoop over his shoulder.

It was a marauding crow. “Invariably, they attack you from the back and hit your head,” says O’Leary, a GIS instructor at Vancouver’s Langara College. “If you’ve got a hat on it’s a different story. But it’s still kind of terrifying—there’s a SQUAWK! and this bird goes right by you.”