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Biologists may resume crow hazing

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Wildlife biologists might have to return to Watertown to fend off the city’s pesky crow population.

In recent nights, crows were reportedly seen near the Jefferson County Historical Society, 228 Washington St.; Price Chopper Plaza off Arsenal Street and Trinity Episcopal Church, 227 Sherman St.

So city officials may have biologists with Loomacres Wildlife Management, Warnerville, come back and conduct more crow hazing. They worked for several nights on two occasions this winter, in December and early January.

Elliott B. Nelson, confidential assistant to the city manager, said Tuesday that he had not received recent complaints about crows until hearing some were seen roosting overnight in the trees near the historical society museum the night before.

So far, the wildlife biologists have seemed to chase the 30,000 crows from their familiar roosting areas near the museum, the Black River and other locations in the city. The biologists also haven’t received any residential complaints for about a month, Mr. Nelson said.

“I think they’ve been pretty successful,” he said, adding he plans to see if they can conduct more hazing before the contract with the company expires at the month’s end.

By March 1, the crows leave their winter roosting areas and stay in fields outside the city.

The biologists have used special remote-controlled aircraft, played distress calls, fired low-yield pyrotechnics and used hand-held lasers. They considered using high-powered air rifles as a limited lethal means but have not had to resort to that method.

Some people have raised health concerns because crows leave their droppings on sidewalks, cars and parking lots.

Residents are encouraged to provide the location, estimated size and dates and times of crow flock sightings.

The toll-free number to report crow activities is 800-243-1462. To report crow activities online, go to www.airportwildlife.com/crows.php.

For further information or questions, call the city manager’s office at 785-7730.

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