Canada Post suspends mail delivery after crow attacks
'It's a completely over-the-top response,' says a UBC expert in bird behaviour
Canada Post says it will only resume mail delivery to three addresses in East Vancouver when it's safe, after a mail carrier was attacked by a well-known neighbourhood crow.
Shawn Bergman and his neighbours haven't received mail for more than a month after Vancouver's infamous Canuck the crow repeatedly attacked a carrier.
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On one occasion, the carrier was left bleeding.
"The safety of the mail and our employees is of most importance," Canada Post spokesperson Phil Legault said in a statement.
"Like any employer, it is our responsibility to respond when an employee brings an issue like this to our attention.
"We are monitoring regularly and will resume mail delivery as soon as possible when it's safe."
Canada Post has sent letters to residents indicating where they can pick up their mail.
Bergman's friendship with Canuck has spawned a Facebook page with more than 57,000 likes.
But Bergman maintains he has no control over the bird's behaviour.
He suggested the carrier use an umbrella as a shield, adjust delivery times and park farther down the street.
But Canada Post wouldn't budge, he said. It's been a month since Bergman last heard from them.
In an email to Bergman, Canada Post said it would no longer deliver to the addresses until the "hazard no longer exists."
"It was a very cold and corporate response," Bergman said.
Threats from his neighbours have escalated, he said, and one neighbour asked Canada Post about getting rid of the crow.
'Completely over the top'
A University of British Columbia expert in bird behaviour says crows don't pose any serious danger to mail carriers.
"To me, it's a completely over-the-top response," said Wayne Goodey, a lecturer in UBC's department of zoology.
"All the mail carrier has to do is wear his or her hat and there wouldn't be any issues. The birds aren't going to wrestle."
Crows are known to be highly defensive during their breeding season in early spring. They'll swoop down on anything they deem an intruder.
But pecking and injuring a human is extraordinary behaviour, Goodey said.
Canuck has become a local personality in recent years after exhibiting some curious behaviour.
In 2016, he gained notoriety for stealing a knife from a crime scene. The year before, he was spotted riding the SkyTrain.
"You've got to remember that crows — even if they're habituated to people in an urban setting — are wild animals," Goodey said.
"They're not calm and communicative in the same way that a cat or a dog would be."
Despite the pressure from neighbours and Canada Post, Bergman is standing by his companion.
"I just want to see the mail get delivered again," he said.