‘Demonic’: Derek the Jackdaw Is Currently Menacing Children in South Yorkshire

What? Did you say something? Say it again.
What? Did you say something? Say it again. / Abel Gourdejuela/500px via Getty Images

Plenty of neighborhoods have a friendly dog or cat that wanders around, boosting moods with its ebullient spirit and friendly disposition. And then there are areas that have to contend with the likes of Derek.

Derek, a black jackdaw belonging to the crow family, has made headlines in recent days for allegedly being an aggressive menace, especially with children, in Rossington in the UK county of South Yorkshire. One disgruntled local has dubbed him “pure evil.”

Derek’s reputation has been under fire for his habit of swooping down on children while they play outdoors. One irritated resident said the bird has been known to attack kids on playgrounds and in gardens.

“It comes to something when kids can’t even go into their own garden without being petrified because of that bloody bird Derek dive bombing them and trying to attack them, so to whoever owns the horrible thing …” the unidentified woman said, as quoted by Yorkshire Live.

It’s not clear if Derek might be a pet or simply a wild nomad. His exploits in Rossington date back to at least 2019, when someone started a Facebook group tracking his appearances. There, opinion appears to be divided. “Good old Derek,” wrote one resident. “Demonic,” wrote another.

Not everyone in the village has been quick to demonize Derek. One parent reported a positive encounter, asserting the bird landed on his child at a bus stop and harmlessly kept them company.

Crows have often been cited as being public nuisances. A bird named Cosmo was ushered out of an elementary school in Grants Pass, Oregon, last November for repeating expletives to the children.

[h/t The Indian Express]