Dead crows in Antwerp fields cause great consternation

Indignation is great in Broechem (Ranst – Antwerp Province) after farmers hung dead crows above their fields to scare off other birds.  Jan Rodts of the Flemish Bird Protection Society says the measure is pointless and ‘totally illegal’.

A dozen dead crows were spotted hanging in two fields.  A Facebook post that has been widely shared showed the dead birds hanging upside down as a kind of deterrent.

The municipal authorities are up in arms too.  Municipal cabinet member Luc Redig (green): “This scares off the visitors, not the birds.  I understand the reactions of shock.  We are not at all happy at a time when more and more ramblers and cyclists are visiting Ranst.”

Jan Rodts of the Flemish Bird Protection Society says crows may be killed under certain conditions but not in this way. “

Dead birds must be taken to the rendering plant and may not be hung out like this.  The Nature and Woodland Agency needs to be informed of any action against the birds.  I would guess the farmers got the dead birds from hunters.  Have the hunters got a licence?”

Rodts isn’t convinced the dead birds will serve as a deterrent.

“Crows are such intelligent birds.  They quickly surmise the birds are dead.  Crows are omnivores.  They will eat dead bodies but also insects, young birds, seeds and nuts.  They won’t be much of a risk to the farmers’ crops.”

The Bird Protection Society says fines can be meted out. 

“We feel the Nature and Woodland Agency should take forthright action and issue fines”.

The municipal authorities are eager to discuss the matter with the farmers.

“There are alternatives.  Fake crows are for sale in retail.  We will ask the farmers to remove the crows.  It frightens children and other passers-by.  We want to discover whether it’s really necessary to shoot the birds.  This is no good advertisement for our farmers and our horticulture” says alderman Redig.

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