The extremely high population of crows may be big news in Rochester now, but it was one of the first things I noticed about the area when I moved here from Pennsylvania in 2005.
“Why are there so many crows here?” I remember asking at a gathering with my new friends at the end of my first week here. I was met with blank, what-are-you-talking-about/are-you-on-something stares from the native Rochesterians and an uproar of “Right?! What’s up with that?!” from my fellow Rochester foreigners. 7 years have passed, and now we’re all asking the same question: why are there so many crows here?
Aside from the fact that a large number of crows hails from Southern Canada, which is pretty much our next door neighbor, there really is no straight-forward answer for why they’ve chosen Rochester as their preferred hangout. One fact is known for certain, though – they haven’t received the warmest of welcomes.
Last week, city officials proactively began the process of discouraging approximately 20,000 – 35,000 crows from settling in the city (just to put that in perspective – in 2011, there were 17,652 students total enrolled at RIT. That’s a lot of crows!) Working with the help of the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services Division, crows will be scared away with methods including pyrotechnics, lasers, and amplified recordings of crow distress calls.
These harassment methods of evicting the crows have been met with very mixed feedback. While no one particularly enjoys the noises or messes the large numbers of crows produce, many regard the large crow roosts and flights as a beautiful natural phenomenon and worry about the fate of the crows.
According to Mark Carrara, USDA Wildlife Biologist,
“The one thing that you have to keep in mind is that [these methods are] not a cure. There’s no way to keep these birds out of the city. It’s too big of an area. There are too many birds. So what we have to try to do is find a balance that everybody can live with. The crows and the people.”
So what do you do when you have noisy, messy, obnoxious neighbor you can’t stand and moving isn’t an option for either of you? You can dwell, and make life miserable – or, you can make an effort to get to know them, and hey, maybe deep down, they aren’t so bad. Or, maybe they are.
This week, DragonFlyEye will be taking that extra step to learn all about Rochester’s crows, these pesky neighbors of ours so you can get to know them, too. Love them, hate them, or don’t care at all about them, these creatures are truly fascinating, and this is not a series you’ll want to miss! Check out the Rochester Crows series as it happens!