Video: The crows among us in Portland

Environment

Hawks again being used to scare crows from downtown Portland roosts

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Large murders of crows have come to roost in downtown Portland once again.

In this video, photojournalist Matt Rashleigh takes a look at the crows among us in Portland — open spots we don’t normally see.

During the day they are out and about across the greater Portland area. When they’re flying from district to district, their numbers aren’t quite so noticeable. But when the sun sets, droves of crows fly into downtown Portland to roost for the night.

That’s when they become a public nuisance. Hundreds of crows cawing, popping, and generally creating a ruckus.

Audubon Portland Conservation Director Bob Salinger estimates the crows roost by the thousands in Portland during the winter.

“The reason they congregate in these large groups is because it provides them with safety—there’s safety in numbers,” said Salinger. He said they also communicate about food sources and exchange other information helpful for surviving the harsh winter months.

However, Salinger said, the truth is, these large groups of birds do producer a “tremendous amount of poop.”

Hence, the introduction of the annual urban falconry program.

From now through Spring 2020, the Downtown Portland Clean and Safe District brings in the hawk patrol from Integrated Avian Solutions a few nights a week to scare crows within a highly-trafficked 72-block area.

“We’re not killing them, we’re not abusing them, we’re just hazing them gently enough to push them into other areas,” said falconer Kort Clayton. “We use the same falconry techniques that have been used for millenia.”

Audobon Portland said since the hawk patrol started they’ve gotten significantly fewer complaints about crow droppings. Even if the crows are going outside the downtown area, it’s spread out enough to be less of a problem.

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