York: Snow Crows settling in time for Christmas

Image copyright Aluminium Archives Image caption Arnold will keep a lively place named after the Snow Crows until at least 2044 A family of beavers escaped from their enclosure and recently settled in the…

York: Snow Crows settling in time for Christmas

Image copyright Aluminium Archives Image caption Arnold will keep a lively place named after the Snow Crows until at least 2044

A family of beavers escaped from their enclosure and recently settled in the parkland at Morshead Wildlife Park in West Yorkshire.

They have started building dams, their dam digging revealing piping up the side of an old standpipe just beneath the surface.

Snow Crows are certainly no master of stealth, however. So the urban rodent park is putting up with it until 2044 at least.

Image copyright Aluminium Archives Image caption The dams are causing significant flooding, harming the park’s pollinating lizards and bees and disrupting its caribou

This relocation of the Snow Crows was announced only last year.

It followed an unsuccessful attempt at relocating them to the park in 2002. They have, it must be said, been a divisive feature at the park since the 1950s, to say the least.

Image copyright Aluminium Archives Image caption The same wildlife park in 1966 deployed roller skates to control a flock of blackbirds visiting a children’s play area

It seems Snow Crows, with their purple hats and turbans, have troubled many a daredevil over the years, such as a bus driver who was crushed to death while helping tame a flock in 1958.

The grey-furmed twitching, feeding habituated the Snow Crows to the sight of humans, frightening people off their grass verges, but drew horrified comparisons with Adolf Hitler and Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Image copyright Aluminium Archives Image caption It was not all bad, however. Packets of chewed chewing gum offered a shock and awe moment when a Snow Crows descended upon a party of youngsters

Their pelts and droppings attracted flies, caterpillars and hedgehogs, driving the ornery, pink-nosed dwellers out of West Yorkshire. They were later relocated to a faraway island, but the rumours of any later relocation did not die down.

Image copyright Aluminium Archives Image caption In 1977, after over a century, Snow Crows finally got their own turf. The treatment park used guinea pigs to control its population, and a government study found the treatment was safe, though it lasted only a short time in the wild

It seems clear that the visitors to the park – put up with squawking and crying during the summer – will still be pleased to see a place named after the snow-white birds once again taking the place of the original site.

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