They are the "Crowbusters," a group of bird-killing fanatics in Germany that dresses in paramilitary gear and uses military-grade weapons to kill as many crows as possible, reports Der Spiegel. The reason for the massive attacks on crows, according to the Crowbusters, is that crows are "feathered vermin" and "crap-scratchers" that have grown too populous, crowding out and killing other creatures, such as rabbits and partridges. Just one hunt in northwestern Germany brought down 333 birds; another in Bavaria saw 316 killed.
Environmentalists are outraged, as are many regular hunters. Crows tend to fly in mixed flocks, so other species are inevitably hit in the Crowbusters' massacres, including protected species. And the Crowbusters' main justification for their attacks, about the dangers posed by the crows, is just untrue, say bird and nature experts: One 2005 study in which 12,000 crows were killed found that the elimination did nothing to help other species, whose populations have actually been harmed by agriculture and other predators. "I've never experienced such feverish hunting of a particular species, not even when it comes to foxes," said one member of an ecological hunting association. (Read more Crows stories.)