A pair of agitated crows camped in front of White Rock Coun. Helen Fathers’ home swooped in Sunday morning, attacking the councillor, leaving her with blood gushing from her head.
That was one of multiple crow attacks in recent days, with 68 people reporting crow confrontations in the Lower Mainland between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Fathers, who posted a photo to Twitter Wednesday of a blood-soaked towel she used to stop the bleeding, can now laugh at the incident, which “scared me to death.”
She said there was a baby crow on her front lawn Sunday morning, located in the 1300-block of Lee Street, and she went outside at 6 a.m. to see if there was anything she could do.
Fathers said she was concerned that her cats would harm the animal, and she was unaware there were crows waiting to attack.
“I go outside, and the crows go mental. I guess the mom and dad flew down and swooped, attacked me,” she told Peace Arch News Thursday.
The protective crow gouged her with its beak, leaving an inch-long gash on the top of her head.
“There was blood everywhere, I thought for a minute it was really bad, but I didn’t realize that the head bled so much.”
Fathers said she went inside her home to attend to her wound, and went outside again, en route to the White Rock Farmers Market, where she is manager, at approximately 7:40 a.m.
“They attacked me again getting into the car,” she said.
Fathers said a baby crow was found dead on the sidewalk. She assumes that a raccoon killed one bird, and the crows were protecting their surviving young.
“It’s admirable in a way, right? They’re so protective of their young.”
The evening before, Fathers said she heard a commotion outside and saw a raccoon in a tree, where crows nested.
She said she’s not really worried about being attacked a third time, but she’s “definitely cautious” when she leaves the house.
“I certainly tell them off when I go outside. I’m in my garden all the time, I say to them ‘you bloody crows – you got me.’”
Fathers also has a fair warning for visitors.
“I tell my mom she has to protect her head when she comes to my door. My mom has been swinging her keys, has her hand above her head… They seemed to have calmed down.”
Fathers said she likes neighbourhood crows, describing herself as a “crazy animal lover.”
“So you know, to me, of all the people to get – go get someone that doesn’t like animals.”
It’s currently breeding season for crows, which can lead to an uptick in attacks, according to experts. There’s an online app that Lower Mainland residents can use to document crow incidents, and so far hundreds have been reported.
Fathers said she has considered documenting her attack.
“But I don’t want people to come look at them and get attacked by them,” she said.
It’s not the first time a White Rock elected official has had a bloody encounter with wildlife.
Then-mayor Catherine Ferguson was attacked by a raccoon in 2009. She was bitten on the calf.
“Oh my God, yes. Catherine got attacked by a raccoon and she had to get a… shot. In the back garden with her dog, crazy, isn’t it?” Fathers said.
Following Ferguson’s attack, the mayor told PAN she suffered bruises and tetanus and rabies shots, but had no long-term injuries.
“In future I shall be staying away from masked men with hairy chests,” Ferguson joked.