Crows are NOT the Problem

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

You can tell winter is here as the Amsterdam Common Council once again entertains the notion of spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars on chasing crows.  An article by reporter Jamie Studd in the Recorder, describes a presentation to the Council by Mike Russo aimed at scaring the crows using a device that would emit compressed gas at a cost of $500 per tree.

The main crow-roosting area is described as the wooded section of land behind City Hall and Greenhill Cemetery. This area is directly across from my house. As I type this blog entry, my view is of that very wooded area described, which extends the length of High and Grove Streets to Schuyler Street. At $500 per tree, that would be a very costly endeavor, one that has not been proven to work.  If anything, it would move them from one part of the City to another, or is the intent just to clear them from the precious City Hall building and Tesiero’s properties?

Crows are among the most intelligent of birds, the only bird documented using tools to forage for food. They are migratory birds that have proven to be beneficial scavengers eating mice as well as road kill. I actually welcome their presence and stop to watch as they fly overhead at dusk to roost in the trees.  There is absolutely no evidence that this crow population has caused physical damage or posed a health problem in Amsterdam.

Porcupine wire is used to control roosting birds on public buildings

The problem the Amsterdam Common Council should be focusing on, is the damage done by City youths who wander the streets after dusk just looking for trouble. There IS documented evidence that this sub-species has caused physical damage to persons and property. The most recent case is the senseless damage to Riverlink Park as described by reporter Jamie Studd here.

The Common Council has more important work to do as I have harped on in earlier blog entries. The failure of the Council to adopt new Ward boundaries as mandated in the City Charter after the Federal Census was updated has now affected the operation of Montgomery County government as Heather Nellis describes here.  The Council could also help the economy and local business by adopting the completed Zoning Updates which expands the local business area, easing zoning regulations in that area. The Council has stalled and failed to adopt this plan as well.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is charged with controlling bird populations. If crows were truly a problem, they would be involved.

The Amsterdam Common Council should leave the crows alone and take care of more important matters at hand.

Categories: Amsterdam, Law | Tags: , , , ,

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7 thoughts on “Crows are NOT the Problem

  1. robert purtell

    It looks pretty cool from my office window, about this time of night, the birds look look like an army storming the enemy, thousands of birds, looks like a scene from ” The Birds”. I will say though that when I went to the bank on Division street the other day and the parking lot was plastered with bird poop.

    • Ever walk in Riverlink Park in the spring and summer? It is plastered with Gull droppings, but no one is asking to spend taxpayer money to chase the Gulls. My street sees more bird droppings in the spring from nesting birds. Then there are the dog droppings that are outlawed in Amsterdam (with no enforcement).

      Buildings can be fitted with bird proofing to prevent roosting on flat surfaces. My point is that it the City should not be wasting time and money on this non- issue.

  2. diane

    That seems to be the problem at city hall, the bird poop all over the cars from one end of the lot to the other. I did listen to the presentation and I do not know if it will work or not. And you are right, it will only displace them somewhere else. But by using this method, and with the crows being a smart bird, once they realize this area was disturbed the last time they were there, the theory is they will remember that and not go back. It will be discussed again at the next cc meeting, why not go express your opinion in person.

  3. Barbara

    I’m glad you said this. I have even seen “the children” used as an excuse for a bunch of adults without enough to do harassing wildlife. Bird droppings outdoors in the cold weather pose no special problems. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to spend money because an individual’s car gets dirty, which they do anyway this time of year. Wax it, and go through the car wash more frequently.
    Live and let live.

  4. Don Diehl

    Hum The thought just popped into my head “birds of a feather flock together”..perhaps Crow Crap..and Bull Crap do also..certainly would explain them picking city hall. Maybe we should check and see if Albany and Washington D.C.have a similar problem.

  5. Rob Millan

    Yes, I agree wholeheartedly: The Amsterdam Common Council should leave the crows alone and take care of more important matters at hand, like a $379 tulip bill that accounts for .0015% of the city budget.

    I don’t think scaring them is the most efficient thing. Preventing them from wanting to hang out in the first place seems more logical. Other places have had similar issues with birds (Scotia: Canada geese; Schenectady: pigeons). Scotia toyed with the idea of gassing them or poking holes in their eggs and a private organization in Schenectady ended up leaving poison for pigeons to eat.

    In both examples, human safety was cited as the justification, and rightfully so, as most members of the aves class produce high amounts of nitrogenous wastes which, when introduced in large amounts, can be dangerous to people.

    The cries may not be the problem now, but will certainly in the near future if left unabated.

    • Crows are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Act. so poisoning is out of the question. NYS has a crow hunting season from September to March which is the only legal method of controlling the crow population.

      Buildings can be fitted with porcupine wire to prevent roosting and bird droppings near public buildings. The scare tactics proposed by Mike Russo are both costly and ineffective.

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