Begun again the War on Crows has

crow closeup

And the beady eyes that stare right through your soul.

The city of Albany has announced that once again it will be engaging in the War on Crows. This winter's campaign will include the following tactics (emphasis added):

The non-lethal harassment methods used to disperse crows will include pyrotechnics, electronic guards, non-harmful lasers, and amplified, recorded crow distress calls. Several of these methods produce loud noises and flashing lights, (similar to sirens and fireworks) that frighten birds and may be heard or observed by local residents. Biologists will be wearing uniforms and a blaze orange vest marked "USDA Wildlife Services."

The first offensive will begin in the Center Square and Sheridan Hollow neighborhoods next Tuesday late afternoon and continue through Thursday. Full details in the press release after the jump.

Albany and other Capital Region municipalities and institutions have been taking up arms against roosting crows for the past several winters -- and yet victory remains elusive.

The crow is a formidable adversary. Researchers say the birds can use tools, recognize humans and hold grudges (even if you can't figure out what you did to them). They are highly intelligent animals (perhaps aided by secret government programs -- the TRUTH IS OUT THERE.) Earlier this year the mayor of Amsterdam revealed the crows had cracked the city's waste disposal codes. It's only a matter of time before they learn how to use Twitter and Facebook.

Thankfully, the humans have had a major weapon of their own in the form of Green Island mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan and her trusty pyrotechnic sidearm. But there's only one EMR -- and the crow hordes are vast.

Earlier on AOA: A dossier on our crow invaders

photo: Wikimedia Commons user mdf

Albany, NY - At the request of the City of Albany, Wildlife Biologists with the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services will be cooperatively conducting a non-lethal wildlife damage management project to disperse a roost of approximately 19,000 American Crows roosting in the City.
This program will begin on Tuesday, November 15th at 3:30 PM and will conclude on Thursday, November 17th at 7:30 PM in the Center Square and Sheridan Hollow areas. Other areas in the City may possibly be affected depending on bird behavior. The control methods will be employed from approximately 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM each evening. This work may be repeated as necessary throughout the winter months.
The non-lethal harassment methods used to disperse crows will include pyrotechnics, electronic guards, non-harmful lasers, and amplified, recorded crow distress calls. Several of these methods produce loud noises and flashing lights, (similar to sirens and fireworks) that frighten birds and may be heard or observed by local residents. Biologists will be wearing uniforms and a blaze orange vest marked "USDA Wildlife Services."
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Wildlife Services at 477-4837 between the hours 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM each day or after hours at 495-4735.
Thank you for your cooperation.


I once ended up in a vehicle with Mayor McNulty-Ryan for a tour of Green Island, in which we stopped a number of times so she could use that flare on the pesky geese. It stands as one of the all-time best moments of my journalistic career.

Well, this is why I feed them my stale bread all winter. You want crows holding a grudge against you? Be my guest.

Them crows are good eats.

Why does everyone hate the crows? In Troy, the mayor does all sorts of wacky stuff to chase them out of downtown, but I like them. The winter already feels gothic, and the crows make it seem even more Poe-tastic

As I write this, there are six of them lurking on the former site of my garage. SIX. No, seven now.

I watched a show on PBS last year where a guy trained wild crows to basically pick up garbage. We should be putting these crows to work instead of scaring them off!

I live in downtown Troy and they roost in a big tree we have in our backyard. Currently I'm trying to figure out a way to get them to hold a grudge against the mean drunk that divides his time between Barker Park and harassing people at the bus stop. So far standing under the tree and telling them that he's said bad things about their mothers has not worked. I'm surprised at this because apparently they have very close family units.

I will keep everyone updated!

I work near the plaza and park near Sheridan. It's like you're under attack - the stairs from Sheridan to Elk, the sidewalks on Elk, the daycare playground on Elk are all covered with bird poop. I never really thought it was an issue before, now the sidewalks look like paint splatters!

I had a vague dislike of crows until I watched the documentary "A Murder of Crows". Now I think they are magnificent creatures.

Terror Hawks...all of them. Crows, "seagulls", pigeons, chickens, parakeets...they are all plotting to peck my eyes out at the first opportunity and I have recurring nightmares about being murdered by a murder of crows. (I was assaulted by a bird as a child and I've never gotten over it).

They have been waging war on my car for a few weeks. Fly-by attacks. "Caw! Caw! Pew! Pew! SPLAT!" I may have to change the color on my registration to "yogurt and blueberries".

@Casey--are you talking about "Big Al" at Barker Park & the busstop? if you are, buy him a pack of smokes, he'll be your friend for life (i do feel slightly guilty about giving him cancer sticks, but it worked to my advantage for the last 3 years.)

Wow - I thought I was alone in my hatred of crows. I really don't care for birds in general, but crows have been my mortal enemy for years. Just the other morning while walking my dog, I swear this one crow was totally taunting her. Their crowing is almost deafening at times. I consider myself a nonviolent person, but their noise and antics in my neighborhood has me fantasizing about becoming a gun owner. I heard once that if you put a dead crow in your yard it will keep others away, but apparently I could just get some pop bottle rockets instead. That would be less gross and more fun.

When are we going to realize? They are SMARTER THAN US. And they are plotting. They are sitting in a treetop right now, laughing at our laser defenses.

Crows are a force of nature. Be glad they aren't locusts that strip a land bare in a matter of hours, and then move on.

@ Colleen- nope. Not Big Al. I'm talking about Nick. He threatened to kick my dog 6 months ago and, like the crows, I hold a grudge. While I'm sure he would love for me to buy him a pack of cigarettes (but more likely a tallboy can of Beast), all he's getting is a phonecall to Troy PD and the wrath of my backyard flying terror machines should I figure out how to convince them to do my bidding.

@Wanttobeanonymous: they crap all over everything. My neighborhood looks like an epic paint ball battle just took place. And what's even worse, is when they all decide to take flight (and by all I mean hundreds) while I'm walking to my apartment, and I have to make a mad dash to my porch while dodging falling poo blobs. Seriously, it sounds like it's raining. My husband tried to take the car to the car wash, and the attendant started laughing when he saw it.

All that aside, it seems that the bulk of them have moved on from Center Square already, so this is a little late.

@Casey--Nick sounds like a word that rhymes with his name. Sounds like he could use from lessons from Big Al.

@Colleen- That's what I keep telling the crows!

I guess I thought crows are part of the fabric of Albany life. I do not dislike them more than I dislike some other things. Honestly, I get simply curious when they gather in my yard. Maybe we do not hold grudges against each other, because it's a rare event. I guess I put them with the 13 year cicadas. Ever been in a house in Albany when that breaks out? Cool.

I won't say that I hate crows, but they are my pesky neighbors. I live in Sheridan Hollow and these crows keep me up all night. At first I thought they were responding to the "non-lethal war", but now I know that they freak out over the slightest of sounds. And they have started to occupy trees on Orange. It appears that their numbers are growing! How is this going to play out, will they just be here all winter? FYI --- those crow distress sounds only made things worse.

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