For the last three years, a man in India’s Madhya Pradesh state has been living a real-life daily nightmare inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Birds’. Every time he walks out of his house, he gets attacked by a murder of crows. The strange thing is the birds only target him.
Shiva Kewat, a daily wage labourer from Sumela village, says his troubles with crows began three years ago, due to a misunderstanding. One day, as he was walking on the street he noticed a crow chick stuck in iron netting, but despite his efforts to help the small bird escape, it died in his hands.
Some of the rows must have seen the scene and assumed that he killed their young, because they’ve been attacking him ever since. Sometimes they come for him in groups, otherwise it’s just a single bird, but Kewat always carries a stick with him to fend off their sharp beaks and talons.
“It died in my hands. If only I could explain to them, I was only trying to help,” Shiva Kewat told the Times of India. “I just wave the stick around to shoo them off. Poor things, they believe I killed the chick.”
Kewat said that he didn’t really take the crows’ attacks seriously until he realizes that he was the only they targeted, no one else had ever had a problem with them. And as word of his troubles with the black birds spread in and around the village, people started gathering at his house every day just to see if he would get attacked. Some find it amusing, while others describe the assaults as “sudden and frightening”.
“They attack him like they show fighter jets diving at targets in movies,” one of Shiva Kewat’s neighbors said about the way the crows swoop down when they see their target.
Professor Ashok Kumar Munjal, who studies bird behaviour Barkatullah University in Bhopal, said that crows have a very sharp memory and tend to remember those who have wronged them. While their idea of revenge may not be as complex as ours, they do have a documented tendency to conduct either single or coordinated attacks against humans who offend them. Basically, crows hold grudges and Shiva Kewat can attest to that.