Why are crows dam­ag­ing their car wipers?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

Res­i­dents in a neigh­bour­ing vil­lage in Som­er­set are hav­ing their wind­screen wipers de­stroyed by crows. I’m won­der­ing, what would the birds gain from this be­hav­iour? San­dra Jones

QNo­body is re­ally sure why crows at­tack the rub­ber parts of cars, but it is a fairly com­mon oc­cur­rence around the world. Win­dow seals are also a favourite tar­get, both on cars and on houses. Sev­eral ex­pla­na­tions have been ad­vanced for the be­hav­iour, some more plau­si­ble than oth­ers. Some ex­perts think that the birds are ac­tu­ally at­tack­ing their own re­flec­tions, and the wipers and seals are sim­ply col­lat­eral dam­age, while oth­ers think that

Athe crows are af­ter a so far un­spec­i­fied min­eral present in the rub­ber, or are for­ag­ing for tiny in­sects on the rub­ber. There’s even a the­ory that the birds may mis­take the car for a large dead an­i­mal, and are try­ing to peck through the soft bits to get at the in­sides! Some have also ad­vanced the opin­ion that the crows just like the taste, or are us­ing the rub­ber in some way to trim their bills, sim­i­lar to the way rab­bits will chew plas­tic-coated ca­bles. On the other hand, it’s very pos­si­ble that, as in­tel­li­gent and play­ful birds, the crows are sim­ply do­ing this just out of mis­chief. The only sure thing is that once started, the be­hav­iour seems dif­fi­cult to stop! Do let us know if this crow be­hav­iour is con­tin­u­ing.

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