An estimated 50,000 crows have descended on Springfield, Ohio. Although they are not necessarily aggressive, the birds are making a mess. Residents and business owners have been forced to spend thousands of dollars to clean up the droppings.
Unfortunately, it is an ongoing problem. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources confirmed crows have been roosting in Springfield for several decades. However, they moved into the downtown area over the last four years.
It is unclear why the crows are drawn to Springfield, Ohio. Jim McCormac, with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, said urbanization may be a factor. As the birds have lost a portion of their natural habitat, they are simply seeking shelter and food.
McCormac explained that the downtown area also provides protection, as there are no natural predators. As reported by Akron Beacon Journal, “crows are very smart and probably have learned they are safer in urban areas.”
In addition to being unsightly, the droppings contain harmful bacteria — which could become a health hazard. The Telegraph reports that the city spends an estimated $10,000 per year removing bird droppings from store fronts and sidewalks.
In addition to cleaning materials, city officials and business owners have spent thousands of dollars on preventative measures. As crows are protected under federal law, the city uses laser pointers and sound machines to repel the pesky birds.
The machines emit a variety of sounds, including distress calls and noises that mimic predatory animals. Groundskeeper Amanda Honeycutt said the sounds have to be changed periodically, as “crows are very intelligent.”
Indeed, crows are known for their cunning behavior and crafty skills. As discussed by All About Birds, Crows often “make and use tools.” They have been known to shape wood into rudimentary tools, make cups to transport water, and use pine cones as weapons.
Crows are also known for their devious methods of obtaining food. Working alone, or as a group, crows often use elaborate distraction techniques to steal food from other birds and animals.
Although they gained an ominous reputation following their appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, crows are generally not aggressive toward humans. Unfortunately, they travel in large flocks, and have been known to make a big mess.
The crows in Springfield, Ohio, are no exception. Thankfully, their stay will be short-lived. The annoying birds usually begin roosting in late summer and leave before spring.
[Image via Shutterstock]