Odd News Show

Stark Raven Mad: U.K. Crow Attacks Hospital Staff and Visitors for Days On End

A crow who took up residence outside a Nottingham hospital let no one go about their business as usual.

By Katie Compa · June 4, 2024

Get off your lawn! erikkellison/Flickr

Queen’s Medical Centre, one of the two major hospitals in the East Midlands city of Nottingham, UK, recently had to warn employees and visitors about a threat near one of the building’s entrances: an angry Corvus corone

What did you just call me?  Heidi/Flickr

The crow, after establishing its headquarters in a stand of trees, began going after people entering the hospital. One was dive-bombed, and others needed treatment for minor wounds. (In the crow’s defense, would you prefer that it injure you farther away from the place where they keep all the medical gauze?) 

Unfortunately, the entrance in question is the closest to the nearby local tram stop and the “car park” (which makes a difference given the size of the hospital—it was the UK’s largest until 2012, when it was displaced by Royal London Hospital, but is still the largest major trauma “centre” in the country). 

But before we rush to judgment and call the corvid cops, it’s important to note that a hospital staff member mentioned offhand that a baby crow had fallen out of the nest. Now, any human mom or dad or even babysitter can understand the frantic behavior that comes out when a youngling is missing—and crows have more in common with humans than our great primate egos might let us admit.

Crows and ravens evolved about 17 million years ago, according to fossil findings, while we homo sapiens are fresh babies at only just over 300,000 years. And as much as we like to use “bird brain” disparagingly, crows are sometimes referred to as “feathered apes” because they have such big brains relative to their body size.

Crows: They're just like us! ... Except for flying ability and one or two other things, we think. We're not veterinarians, okay? Keep scrolling.  Emily Chamelin/Rawpixel

Just last week, scientists announced a finding that crows can count aloud (not in English, calm down) about as well as human toddlers, who, as we all know, are only slightly less intelligent than human adults, and even that is arguable. No other species is on record as having this ability. That might explain why the only person to walk into the hospital unscathed was this guy:

Ah-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaa!  World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr

Crows have been observed doing all kinds of things that make us slightly uncomfortable and/or less than confident that we’re really at the top of the food chain. They can use tools and complete multi-step processes—for a reward (now that we can understand)—and sometimes leave gifts for people they like. Surely there’s a parallel evolutionary universe where we have the crows’ operable beaks, and they got our opposable thumbs, and we just hope they are kind masters to our inferior species over there. 

Crows can also recognize faces (both human and crow) and live up to 30 years—though the oldest on record passed at the impressive Methuselah-adjacent age of fifty-nine.

Tl;dr: Never, ever cross a crow—they will be back to settle the score… and they might win. 

We imagine business at Nottingham’s Crafty Crow Pub is either way up or way down.

Nottingham is the legendary home of Robin Hood (as well as to the lace-making, bicycle, and tobacco industries, which are of course far less well-known off-island). The Sheriff of Nottingham was unavailable for comment, and we urge local law enforcement to do a wellness check to make sure an army of corvidae isn’t holding him hostage in his own backyard.