Cortland takes on roosting crows
It is back to basics as the city of Cortland challenges a swelling population of crows over roosting rights. Tamara Lindstrom tells us about a new plan to scare off the unwelcome residents, and how neighbors can help.
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- There may be few signs of them yet, but leaders in the city of Cortland know it's only a matter of time.
"There's more and more crows that are choosing to roost in Cortland. And what happens is not necessarily the birds themselves, but what they leave that's the issue," said Mayor Brian Tobin.
What they leave behind has neighbors and business owners calling foul. It's a problem county buildings have dealt with for years.
"The county office building is right in the middle of the city with the county courthouse," Tobin said. "They've started using crow misters where they're spraying grapeseed oil. And the idea is that that is something that is uncomfortable for the crows. Now it's a fairly significant financial investment that they're spending money on."
But with limited resources, the city is taking a new approach. Leaders are devising a plan involving social media and a lot of volunteers, hoping to get more bang for their buck.
"If you know where the crows are, help us just by reaching out and letting us know," Tobin said. "If you can scare them off yourself just by making noise, try to do that. And we're going to be soliciting for volunteers. The idea is having a group of volunteers, a different group each night. Have them essentially be crow chasers. Every time the crows land, follow them and when they land make it noisy and make them uncomfortable. Try to get them to move again."
Laser pointers will aid in combating the crows, as will a little psychological warfare.
"Crows have also been known to recognize different people, so it can't be the same people all the time. It can't be the same vehicles," Tobin said. "We want to make them really apprehensive."
Leaving the perplexed and panicked birds nowhere to go, but up and away. The city plans to start the effort this month. They're working with Homer officials to make sure the birds don't end up just moving one town over.