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City in California has crow problem, they hope lasers can help

Black crows on the green grass
Posted at 1:38 PM, Jan 19, 2022

Sunnyvale, California says it has a crow problem. They eat scraps found on the ground and defecate everywhere in the downtown residents say.

As the New York Times reported, authorities in the city have been trying to get rid of the birds for the past five years, but as the pandemic kept people in their homes, the crow population has gotten worse.

The mayor of Sunnyvale, Larry Klein, isn't happy with these regular visitors and says “The streets are basically riddled with crow poo.”

Sunnyvale lies just about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and officials in the city decided to take advantage of technology as a way to solve their problem, even if it's a simple piece of technology.

The city will be trying out $20 lasers after already attempting to chase the crows away with a falcon.

Mayor Klein told CNN that even though crows have been longtime visitors of Sunnyvale, having roosted in the downtown area for "generations," their numbers have grown during the pandemic to a level the town doesn't want to deal with.

The mayor told KGO-TV he doesn't even like to go outside without protection saying, "I'll go inside, unless I'm under an umbrella." Klein said, "Thing is, they're not here during the day, it's just at night. It's just when they start coming around when the sun goes down."

A friend gave Mayor Klein the idea to disperse the birds using a green laser.

"It's a health problem we've had to deal with, and at the cost of the city, so if we have a cheap solution, there's no reason [not] to try it, right?" Klein said.

As CNN reported, city residents and staff will soon be armed with lasers to use them to disperse the squawking birds.

While the city is on board with the idea, as CNN reported, the Audubon Society said they fear the birds will be blinded by the lasers and want the city to keep looking for other ways to make them leave.

In 2018 the city of Rochester in New York tried using pyrotechnics, spotlights, lasers and amplified electronic recordings of a crow distress call to get tens of thousands of crows to leave their downtown area of that city, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

Wildlife biologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program helped in that effort.