back to article Tokyo battles monstrous murder of crows

Tokyo is renewing its bitter battle against crows which, despite the city's best efforts to wipe them out, continue to circle over its mean streets in search of unprotected rubbish and unsuspecting air-to-ground attack victims. The war on the massed squadrons of jungle crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) began back in 2001, when one …


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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    They're happy because they eat lard!

  2. Anton Ivanov

    Resistance is futile, crows will win

    Hehe... a bird that is smart enough to use cars and traffic lights as tools to crack nuts is not going to go down that easy. There is some really impressive footage by the BBC Wildlife team featuring David Attenborough where a Japanese jungle crow drops a nut in the middle of a pedestrian crossing into traffic, has it cracked and patiently waits until the light for the cars turns red. Then it goes and collects the scraps. In fact, I would not be surprised if they now have learned to press the buttons on the crossing. After all, the crow family are the only other animal besides dolphins and higher apes to pass the mirror test for self-awareness.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    They Are BIG Suckers -Raven-Size

    You don't notice it until one of them alights near you. Their voices are relatively quiet, but I've seen them with a metre or more wingspan.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Give me 5 quid a bird and ill hunt them

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not worth the money

    At a tad over $50 per crow, it seems hardly worth it. It would be cheaper to put up feeding stations for them, maybe laced with crow birth control chemicals. I'm with the crows anyway.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    do they eat pigions?

    I wonder if they can eat cane toads? send some to Australia.

  7. Random Noise


    We have the same problem in Aberdeen with seagulls. They get pretty big scavenging the leftover kabobs and pizzas strewn about after a beery night out.

    They're pretty mean too - I saw one kill & eat a pigeon. I seems to recall a story about some woman who's little rat of a dog got attacked too.

    It's only a matter of time before they eat someone's baby.

    Won't somebody think of the children and make some kind of automatic seagull targeting turret?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    What? Oh.

    I first skimread that headline as "cows".

    "Tokyo battles monstrous murder of cows" - I didn't know what to expect.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Deep crow!

    Deeeep crowwww!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To quote Homer...

    Its a "Murder", honey! A group of crows is called a "Murder".

  11. Simon Langley

    All Hail the Crows

    ...and I, for one, welcome our new crow overlords.

  12. Mike Richards

    Tough birds

    These are the ones who think they can make a comfy nest out of wire coathangers. They're pretty much the corvine Chuck Norris.

  13. Nev Silver badge

    Stone them!

    Damien: Omen II That's all I'm saying.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I see and hear the blighters every day, quite simple solution. Give people a shotgun.

  15. Mark Hewitt

    Need a Hitchcock icon

    ...or Tippi Hedren. :)

  16. 109mae

    No sleep

    The problem with crows is that they wake you up early in the morning and that eventually takes its toll.

    A coworker of mine has been coming to work pretty beat and complaining about crows for months now.. I know the feeling, up until 3 years ago it was me angrily dashing out the balcony armed with a mop.

    Trash is a big problem indeed.. Tokyo is a great city, we have a real-size Gundam models, but no public trash bins !

    Leaving the trash outside in designated translucent plastic bags is just not a great idea.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    We have them in bloody London too, because of all the crApples.

  18. Christoph Silver badge

    Why don't they do the obvious?

    Problems in Tokyo? Send in Godzilla!

  19. deshepherd

    clearly a case for ...

    well, we've got crows and someone's mentioned a toad

    ... send for DangerMouse

  20. Joefish


    'Croverlords', shurley?

  21. LuMan
    Black Helicopters

    No crows

    These are not crows. Japan's version of DARPA have succesfully created self-replicating, high-artificial intelligence, autonomous death bringers intent on softening up the puny human race before the final onslaught of death-weilding killer robots. I bet the training video is reminiscent of that scene in Omen II when the woman gets her eyes pecked out by one of the prototypes before stumbling blindly into the path of an oncoming artic!

  22. James 55

    Maths?/Breeding success

    crow numbers had risen from 7,000 in 1985 to an estimated 36,400... despite having lost 105,392 individuals at the last count...

  23. Bad Beaver

    Deep Crow's minions terrorize the heavens?

    Clearly, the Japanese dug too deep.

  24. Anonymous Coward


    The last time I read a story about this, the upshot was that Tokyo citizens were simply putting garbage/rubbish in plastic bags and leaving it on the curb/kerb. Switching to metal or hard plastic cans/bins (a) keeps some excess plastic out of landfills and (b) a crow-resistant trash can is not a big engineering task.

    Take the crows' food source away and their murder will shrink.

  25. TimeMaster T
    Thumb Up


    $5.3m to breed smarter crows. Well done!

  26. Daniel Pimley


    "Megalomaniacal assholes discover that nature does not bend to their schemes."

    Crows 1, Assholes 0.

  27. John Ferris

    Where is...

    Godzilla when you really need him?

  28. Z80


    So they killed 105K of the estimated 36K that were there when they decided to take action and there's still >20k remaining? Where are all the crow reinforcements coming from?

    I've visited Tokyo a few times and there's certainly plenty of them about. At least they noise they make isn't as annoying as that of seagulls. My Japanese friend told me that if you attack a crow it will remember you and get its revenge some day...

  29. Ramazan

    pneumatic gun

    if they pay $5 for a pair of crow legs, it turns out to be a profitable business

  30. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Obviously knew what he was writing about!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just give them kia-ora

    it's too orangey for crows

  32. Andus McCoatover


    Nice one, El Reg.

    I'd forgotten that collective term for crows is a 'murder'. Where's my English teacher when I want him? OK, 6 ft. down....

    Incidentally, has three recipes for ensuring the buggers don't reap revenge. Unless it's a sore ringpiece...

  33. Mage Silver badge


    The rooks here figured how to use the peanut feeder for the Tits.

    Hilarious when they were learning as they tended to fall off head first and fail to avoid hitting the ground.

    I think they ate the Squirrels. Never seen one here ever.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    They ARE scary

    AS someone living in Tokyo I can assure you that these crows are big suckers, totally unafraid of humans and would scare the bejeezus out of me if they attacked in a murder (Nice name eh? A flock of sheep, a pride of lions, a murder of crows...someone got the right naming down).

  35. Charles E

    Crow hunting

    I recall reading a wonderful story about crows when I was a language student in Hakodate, Japan, the southernmost city in Hokkaido. I looked it up and will quote verbatim from the account of Mr. H. T. Snow, as he described events in 1876:

    "Upon the occasion of the visit of the Emperor to Hakodate, a crow, when flying over the imperial carriage, so far forgot himself as to commit an indignity on His Imperial Majesty. The people of Hakodate were very angry, and a price was set, not upon the head of Mr. Crow, but upon his feet, the authorities paying four cents per pair for all crow's feet brought in to the police. I was in Hakodate during the winter when this regulation was in force. It soon had the effect of reducing the number of crows."

    The local historians noted that children hunted with slings and became so good at hunting crows that they were almost extinct in the Hakodate region. So the bounty was eliminated, and within a couple of years, the crow population was back to previous levels.

    BTW, I should note that Japanese crows are not like European crows. They're quite different animals, they're much larger and they have big sharp bills that look like a parrot's. Their beak can tear through metal cans and bite through wires. In Tokyo, crows are notorious for stealing wire coat hangers and bending them into nests. They can bend wire like a European crow bends straw.

  36. John Uhercik

    Has anyone thought of trying this?

    Apparently, they can be put to work, for literally, just peanuts.

    Vending machine for crows.

    There's plenty of them around here, think I'll give it a try myself.

  37. Allan George Dyer Silver badge


    A bird here in Hong Kong used steel reinforcing bars for its nest, street had to be closed when they were removed. Not sure what type of bird, but jungle crows are not uncommon.

  38. E 2

    I do not get it

    I've been to Tokyo. Metro Tokyo is about 35x10^6 people spread over a 3pi/2 arc with a radius of maybe 15 or 20 Km. How can 20K or so crows be a problem in such a large city?

    Unless these are Left 4 Dead crows?

  39. Cliff

    Crows are cool

    In Singapore I used to watch them visiting the breakfast tables of one of the bit hotels by the river, and pick sugar and sweetener sachets out of the little trays until they found the "right" one (they seemed to prefer the plain white sugar). They'd then carry the sachet upstairs to the infinity ledge of the swimming pool, and soak the sachet to open it, getting an intense sugary drink for breakfast whilst the office workers in the city below did the same thing with their coffees!

    Admittedly they wwere the more genteel European sized crows, but that's still pretty cool use of tools

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: bounty on crows

    But then you'll have to tax the crow farms ;)

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: just give them kia-ora

    But then there would be a plague of dogs and their owners.

  42. Flybert

    Bring them to US

    our crows have all but been whiped out my west nile virus, really a shame, IMO.

    OTOH.. I saw a young mountain lion walking beside a flood control channel a couple of weeks ago in an industrial area near the Ontario airport in So. Cal .. that was cool

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