“As soon as we take out the food it is difficult to keep them away, they aren’t scared even if we stand just a metre away,” said teacher Gerd Person to The Local, describing how the birds tear at unguarded lunch boxes.
Once a week, the kids at Västerbo preschool in Eslöv in southern Sweden are supposed to enjoy activities outside, according to the national curriculum.
They relocate to the banks of the lake Trollsjön, explore nature and enjoy a picnic al fresco.
That is until flocks of the aggressive rooks, a crow-like bird found in Europe and parts of Asia, started swooping in and pecking at the kids’ packed lunches and dropping their faeces all over the place.
“They have always been around but recently it has got a lot worse. This spring as the birds have laid their eggs they stay close to the trees and as soon as we take out the food they are lurking in the branches,” Person said.
She said that neither teachers nor the children are scared of the birds, but that it is unpleasant for everyone to eat among the bird droppings.
The flock of fearless rooks also venture uncomfortably close to the small children.
“Having to shoo them away from their food all the time, or failing that seeing them aggressively attack the lunchboxes is not very nice. We worry about things like bird flu or salmonella,” Person said.
The preschool has asked the municipality to deal with the birds. But the answer they have got so far is that the authorities have no plans to do anything to keep down the number of rooks in the area.
“We are hoping that they will change their mind and do something to regulate the number of birds, because we can’t follow the curriculum and offer our children nature time with things remaining this way,” said Person.
The school has appealed the municipality’s decision.
“So far they have just told us to go somewhere else, but these birds get around everywhere,” Person said to The Local.