Scientists Use Hazing to Drive Crows Away
AUBURN, N.Y. In a city where a huge flock of crows has been pestering people for years, officials are fighting back with a hazing program aimed at disrupting the birds' sleep with noise and light and driving them into the countryside.
Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state Department of Environmental Conservation started harassing the crows Monday, and will continue through the week using hand-held lasers, pyrotechnics and amplified crow distress calls.
"They are beautiful creatures, and we don't want to hurt them. We just want them out of our downtown," said Mayor Timothy Lattimore. "We wish them well -- just somewhere else."
The invasion began about 15 years ago when more than 50,000 crows started wintering in this small upstate city 20 miles west of Syracuse -- outnumbering the human population of 28,574. Residents complain that the crows are a noisy nuisance and that they soil the city with feces and drive off other songbirds.
Three years ago, a businessman organized an informal crow hunt. Last year, the two-day contest in February attracted 208 hunters -- some from as far away as Kentucky and Arizona -- who killed 1,061 birds.
Crow season runs from Sept. 1 to March 31, but crows can only be hunted Friday through Monday because of a quirk in a 1918 federal law covering migratory birds.
The scientists counted some 63,800 birds before hazing began.
Source: Associated Press