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 couple of years.). 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.
"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.
Currently, the Audubon Society of Portland is supporting Portland's Clean & Safe program to haze the crows as a non-lethal means of dispersing the birds to minimize tensions. Additionally, Audubon is also in support of our efforts to gather information on the Portland Urban roost so we, as a community, can make more informed decisions going forward.
As described in our Citizen Science section for the 2018-19 roost season, we intend to count crows every week. Our project is formally registered with CitizenScience.org. The winter migratory season is here! Our crows began to return in mid-August. Send us an email (below) and let us know you'd like to join our project.
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. We are now hosting a monthly "Roost Walk." Interested? Email us to learn more.
If the hazing project concerns you, if you'd like to see our research supported or if you have ideas about how to ease the tensions between the urban-natural interface: get involved. Tell your community leaders how you feel.
Portland Clean & Safe Director, Lynnae Berg: lberg@portlandalliance. com;
Audubon's Conservation Director, Bob Sallinger: bsallinger@audubonportland. org