5 birds that have terrorised university campuses

Keep watching the skies…

August 7, 2015
Birds attack university campus seagull problem Hitchcock
Source: istock
Unwanted campus visitors can be a nuisance to students and staff

Tales of ferocious fowl and swooping seagulls causing havoc on university campuses have been making headlines during the August silly season. 

But which of our feathered friends have raised the most Hitchcockian-style hell in higher education? Here are some of the most bothersome birds of recent times.


A wild turkey dubbed Gobbles ruffled feathers at the University of Michigan last month, getting itself cited in a total of seven police reports.

Students and staff at Michigan’s north campus found themselves trapped in buildings by Gobbles, which was described by the police as a “very aggressive bird”.

The troublesome turkey also chased passers-by, stood in the way of traffic and attempted to board buses before it was eventually captured this month, local media reported.

Despite the disruption caused by the wandering turkey, several students say that they now miss the bird, which became an unofficial campus mascot and a social media star.


Aggressive seagulls have forced workmen to postpone completion of part of the University of Ulster’s new £250 million campus.

According to the Irish News, construction workers on the central Belfast site had ceased work on a section of fencing after they were harried by dive-bombing gulls. It is believed that the gulls are seeking to protect a nearby nest of chicks.

Plymouth University has also come under siege from seagulls. To spare students at its Portland Villas campus more airborne attacks, it drafted in seven birds of prey to deal with the avian interlopers in 2013.

Most recently, the University of Bath enlisted an owl named Yoda to tackle a seagull problem. In recognition of his work, he was awarded his own library card.

Yoda has also gone on to join Bath’s University and College Union chapter and has tweeted messages of support for “Liver Party” leadership front runner “Jeremy Corvid”, Bath’s pun-friendly local branch reports.


A Canada goose hit the headlines in 2013 for attacking students at the University of Warwick who passed close to her nest.

The mother goose pecked, squawked and hissed at students, forcing some to dive for cover to avoid the winged assailant.

“They’re terrifying – the birds are so big, and they’ll clearly stop at nothing to protect their eggs,” said one student.


Warwick’s woes with angry birds continued in 2014, when a “racist swan” launched a spate of attacks on international students.

Undergraduates claimed that the 4ft bird was targeting students from ethnic minorities – one Indian student suggested that “maybe the swans here are a little bit racist”.

However, the Warwick swan’s antics were short-lived compared with those of Mr Asbo, an aggressive swan that attacked student rowers in Cambridge for years – which made it an unlikely hero for some of the city’s residents.

His offspring has latterly caused a flap on the River Cam.


At least six people were attacked by hawks at New Mexico State University last year, leaving one person dazed.

The birds of prey swooped down on passers-by at the campus in Las Cruces, leaving them with cuts to their heads.

“People are a little upset, you can imagine, being hit by a hawk in the middle of the day,” said a medic at the university’s clinic.


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Reader's comments (1)

I'm surprised the grumpy geese at York don't get a mention...

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