This California City Is Using Lasers to Shoo Crows That Overtook Downtown

by Matthew Memrick
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A California city is turning to a laser to shoo away a huge murder of crows, caught earlier this month overtaking its downtown area.

CNN reported that the noisy video and bird droppings are just some of Sunnyvale’s problems. But don’t fear. Officials think a cheap laser light show will keep the crows away.

City residents are well aware of the problem. Frank Hampton said the crows come around when the sun starts going down. 

“You look up in the sky, and it’s almost like a planetarium where you see all these dots up in the sky, and it’s just, I don’t know, nature at its best,” Scott Kilbourn said.

Some are fascinated but annoyed at the large gathering of crows.

The city is about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco as the crow flies.

Crows A Nuisance Best Handled By Green Lasers

Mayor Larry Klein said his city has tried “everything in the past,” including falcons and reflectors in trees without luck.

Now, they’re going with $20 green lasers to ward off the birds.

“It’s far better than spending, you know, hundreds of dollars to spray wash the sidewalks every few weeks, or spray wash Murphy Avenue because of that health risk,” Klein said.

Klein said the Sunnyvale downtown association is providing the lasers. According to CNN, the city’s use of lasers will be part of a pilot program that starts at the end of January. 

Some Bird Lovers Resist Laser Option

But one animal group’s not too keen on the decision.

The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society said the lasers could “pose a threat of blindness to the birds.” They also say there’s a risk to “humans and aircraft.”

The local humane society has a few bright suggestions of their own. They include using loud noisemakers that sound like fireworks and fake dead crows to scare off the animals. 

On the other hand, local media did not reach local AARP groups to find out what they’d want. These fireworks and dead birds in trees may cause alarm with the older population.

Pennsylvania Town Wanted To Poison Crows

In 2016, the city of Lancaster had a similar problem. The birthplace of the candy called Peeps kept getting winter visitors, and one estimate had them at 30,000 annually.

According to the Audobon Society, residents wanted to poison the birds in 2005. But a small group of crow fans worked to figure out a solution.

The Lancaster County Crow Coalition used pyrotechnics like starter pistols, screamers, and even the occasional dead crow effigy. They said the sounds got flocks of the birds to move to more bird-friendly areas outside of town. By the end of the year, city officials announced an end to the crow problem.

The city started having an annual party called the Winter Crow Roost.

Outsider.com