I’m the victim of a relentless, painful, and humiliating attack. I am the target of unrelenting harassment and completely unjustified, but remarkably specific, vengeance. I’m being violently subjugated. By crows.

Three out of my four workdays find me trying to be a good Portlander and use the wealth of public transportation with which I have been provided. For the last year, I’ve hoofed the uneventful blocks between our house and the MAX station without a care or a second thought. I’ve enjoyed the pretty trees and the self-proclaimed “sexy coffee” stand that sits delightfully halfway to my destination. I’ve walked in rain and storms and almost snow, and it’s never really been that bad. Until…

Until I did something to anger the local wildlife. About three weeks ago, I was walking along, minding my own, when from behind I heard the jarring “caaahhh caaaahhh” of crows. Two crows. Two seemingly angry crows who seemed to be aiming their anger squarely in my direction. “Strange,” thought me, ” I wonder if they have a nest or something. Oh well.” I proceeded then to turn back around and continue along my way. Worst. Idea. Ever.

Turns out crows are the minions of Satan. They are evil little buggers who wait until your back is turned to unleash their dive-bombing fury on your unsuspecting head. You know the dungeon levels in Super Mario games with the ghosts that only move if you look away from them, then sneak up from behind you and kill you dead? Based on these crows. The moment my back was turned, I heard the swoosh of wings and the unnerving sound of a “caaaahhh” closing in and fwaaaack! Crow wings to the back of the head. Not even kidding.

At this point I become a rather sorry version of my former self, the self that loves all creatures and fears no beaks or talons. The new me is ducking and inching down the sidewalk, completely terrified and completely without a clue as to why I’ve suddenly become the target of choice for the crow militia. It took everything in me not to pound on the door of the nearest house and seek sanctuary until they went away. Instead, I sort of hop-ran until I made it to the MAX shelter where they finally relented. Four blocks. They hounded me for four blocks. Bullies.

Traumatic though the experience was, I chalked it up to crazy timing and freakish coincidence, until it happened the next day… and the next. It was then that I started to notice the crows weren’t attacking other pedestrians. Call me crazy, but those jerks were waiting, and watching, and targeting me. This is unfair for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the amount of time I’ve actually devoted to rescuing birds of all kinds. I’ve fed their abandoned kindred, plopped babies back into nests, shielded wayward waterfowl, and for what? To be abused by a couple of lousy ne’er do wells who seem to think we’re on the set of a Hitchcock film? Uncalled for, I say.

I’m not sure what to do about this crow problem. They don’t seem to be tiring of the fun in the slightest. I have a theory that involves a strategically timed umbrella opening, but so far the presence of the umbrella in my purse seems to be the only thing that will keep the attacks from happening. They’re nowhere to be found on days I’m prepared for the ambush, but on days like today, when I finally decide they’ve moved on and boldly leave my umbrella at home, they’re back in force. Three of them this morning. Thunked me on the noggin. Made me miss my MAX. Uncalled for.

Please tell me I’m not the only person this has happened to.


  • Shannon July 30, 2010 at 9:19 am

    >I feel horrible for cracking up over your unfortunate crow attacks, but it makes for a good story. What better way to start my morning than with a hearty laugh?Personally, I think they are intimidated by your vertical giftedness.Do we still have that broken red umbrella that is super spring-loaded and surely a weapon by all definitions? I can just picture that umbrella flying out of your hands and fwacking those bloody crows upside the head. Take that.

  • johnmichael August 2, 2010 at 8:23 am

    >I wonder how the poor crows feel, full of ancestral-memories of an untainted Northwest only to be bombarded by speeding hunks of metal-Max's and tall blond women who won't join in any fun crow-games and merely flail, scream and run when invited. It must be a tough life. Just kidding. Maybe you should get a slingshot. But take heart, your not the only one: during World War II, the crow was designated as an enemy of the American public because it was 'stealing grain' from farmers. Crows were actually referred to as 'black bandits.' Sounds sort of dashing.

  • annie July 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    have you read wildwood? cute little young adult novel set in portland? it involves crows that i feel will further justify your sentiments:)

    • karyn July 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      Ooooo, I’m on it!

      • annie July 11, 2013 at 8:26 am

        i will lend you my copy!

  • Janice Christman July 10, 2013 at 8:15 am

    OMG! I am so sorry to find “humor” in what you just wrote, but, to tell the truth, I am laughing hysterically! It isn’t that I am laughing “at” you, but, the vision that is playing out in my brain of the thought process of the crows! You are right, they are bullies! We had one follow us for about 4 blocks, diving at us too, because our dog had the nerve to bark at it while it was sitting on trash can!! The nerve! I hope the attacks abate and you will show them you are a tough girl and won’t be intimidated by a measley crow!!

    • karyn July 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      Haha, no worries – I was laughing too, once the initial terror wore off. ­čÖé