One of the responses we often hear is "Hazing crows is better than poisoning them." In response to that we say, "Absolutely!" Because, sadly, crows have been poisoned in the past and... there are MORE than two options. What we seek is a dialogue for other alternatives. NOT hazing, NOT poisoning. Instead, respectfully and curiously studying this urban-wild intersection and finding ways to coexist.
What about an Umbrella Share project? City-subsidies for business awnings? Allocating the 60K+ spent hazing for jobs for power-washing streets? Let's brain-storm truly innovative ideas that DO NO HARM.
"I join in your concerns over attempts to move a roost . . . not only do territorial crows use this roost but migrating crows as well, probably using the roost for several years . . . I find it hard to think that harassing the crows to move doesn't have some kind of impact on their fitness at some point." ~Dr. Lisa M. Reed, Rutgers University, Researcher and author of numerous scientific studies of crow behavior.
Portlanders advocating for crows. Photo courtesy of Irene Tejatatchi Hess (instagram @tejaroxy)
The Audubon Society of Portland is on record as supporting Portland's Clean & Safe program to haze the crows as "a non-lethal means of dispersing the birds to minimize tensions" despite no existing science addressing whether or not hazing has lasting negative impacts on crows.
If the hazing project concerns you and/or if you have ideas about how to ease the tensions between the urban-natural interface: tell your community leaders how you feel.
Portland Clean & Safe Senior Director:
or call: 503-224-8684
Audubon's Conservation Director: Quinn Read firstname.lastname@example.org
Audubon's Executive Director: Stuart Wells email@example.com
Crows are as cool as swifts! On cool autumn/winter nights, as the sun begins to set, the crows fly into downtown by the thousands. It really is a magnificent sight! Bring your children, grab your friends and come into town to witness the cacophony of the pre-roost.
Portland artist, Eleanor Ryburn, created a series of crow images for an upcoming book (one is pictured above). Those images were shown at Two Rivers Bookstore in Feb 2020. Irene Tejaratchi Hess, made a delightful short film Roost: The Crows of Downtown Portland. In Canada, Ashley Duong created a short documentary on Charlottetown's March of The Crows costume parade within an art festival. We'd like to see Portland do a Crow March too! Let's make it happen.
The winter migratory season is here! Our crows began to return in mid-August. As described in our Community Science section, we count crows regularly. Send us an email (below) and let us know if you'd like information about our project.