Signs have been placed in Victoria’s downtown core warning people of a potential danger lurking in the skies: aggressive, territorial crows.

It seems nobody is safe these days, with reports on the rise that crows are dive-bombing unsuspecting passersby to protect their young – especially in the city’s Market Square.

“Oh my god, the crows are going crazy here. They’re chasing all the kids, they’re chasing all the men, teenage guys. They’ve been picking on them,” said business owner Pemba Bhatia, adding she’s concerned the birds are chasing away potential customers. “They just come down and they’re loud and very noisy, protecting their babies I guess.”

Market Square manager Kim Harrap said she’s hoping the crows’ young will soon learn how to fly the coop – so parents will give up their hostile tactics.

“We’ve done everything we can possibly do to tell everybody that the crows do dive-bomb some people,” she said. “It would be nice if there was some sort of society that would actually come and take the babies somewhere they could be safe.”

Experts say crows are highly intelligent birds that become particularly protective when their young are nesting.

What’s worse, if you’ve been attacked once – you’re likely to be attacked again.

“If they’ve taken a dislike to you, they will actually recognize you,” said Ann Nightingale, who sits on the board of directors for Rocky Point Bird Observatory. “I got on the wrong side of a family of crows once upon a time and for weeks, every time I walked along a path, they would swoop down on me. Other people were coming down the same direction as me, they ignored them.”

Not only can crows recognize faces, they can teach their young how to recognize “bad guys,” even if they haven’t interacted with them, Nightingale said.

But there are ways to avoid getting a talon to the head.

One is to avoid routes with crow nests entirely during the short period in which babies are still learning how to fly.

Another is to wear a hat with stickers on the back that look like eyes, scaring the animals off – or simply use an umbrella to fend off the feisty creatures.

With a report from CTV Vancouver Island’s Chandler Grieve