SFCA organizing CROW project (Coalition to Re-locate Our Wildlife)

Below is an email sent to SF neighbors on 8/27/20, asking for volunteers to help “harass” the migrating crows as they start up a roosting site in mid-October. The goal is not to hurt birds, to hopefully to persuade them to choose another site besides the large trees of busy Oakland streets and neighborhoods.


Our Schenley Farms neighborhood has a seasonal ‘problem’ with migrating CROWS roosting in our neighborhood. This issue is long-standing and involves many areas of Pgh, but things seems to have worsened for our locale in the recent years – more birds, more droppings, longer time period (October thru February).

SFCA is working to improve this problem, and WE ARE WRITING TO ASK FOR YOUR HELP.

A few quick background points:

* The crows are a protected species, and are important in major ecology systems. The goal of any intervention is NOT to hurt the birds but to dissuade the crows from choosing this area for roosting, and then to help them go to a more ‘acceptable’ space.

* This is accomplished by ‘harassing the crows’ as they start to invade at the beginning of roosting season. Harassment measures mainly include making loud noises (e.g. banging wood pieces) and possibly employing pyrotechnics (screamers and bangers propelled with launchers). Other measures might be added to plan being developed.

* This effort is complicated because it impacts other places (neighborhoods) and other institutions (U Pitt, Carnegie Library, etc). The exact plan of intervention is being developed with much input, especially from bird aficionados who admire crows but who also understand the negative aspects of “human-wildlife conflicts”.


What we think will be necessary:

The project begins when the crows arrive. Last year it was mid-October.

Volunteers will be “on-call” by cell phone, and be asked to go outside and make noise for about 20-40 minutes each evening, at the times when crow herd are flying from their staging areas to their newly-chosen roosting areas. This occurs usually a little before sunset (sunset on Oct. 15 is 6:36 p.m.) but really depends on when the birds start to move. Volunteers will be given some instruments of noise-making and suggestions for others measure.

It is unclear how long this harassment effort is needed, but somewhere between 2 – 6 weeks is the estimate. The basic point is to make our neighborhood unwelcoming to birds! And if/when crows stop coming, we can stop making noise.

Two of our neighbors (Laura Waxman, Shirley Cassing) are organizing our volunteers. Most of us will be home during this time, since traveling is sadly limited. Please consider replying and putting your name on the volunteer list, so that we can contact you and get organized as we get closer to early October.

It’s actually quite interesting. Crows are very smart, very social, and very adaptable! This could be a fun family project, and it really could allow each of us to help the property/sanity/health of ourselves and our neighbors !!

Hope you will consider putting your name on the CROW project volunteer list. Do this by email by writing back to SFCA board members.

Volunteers will receive interesting crow-friendly education by ZOOM meeting and learn how humans might be able to alter bird behaviors…. planned for early October.

Interesting readings: