The birds are back in Sunnyvale. City pivots green laser strategy – East Bay Times

That’s Crow 1, Sunnyvale 0. The city canceled its green laser pilot program last month. Following the murder of the crowing crows that have plagued downtown residents in recent years, we’ve come to realize that the bright, blinding lights pose no real threat.

January of last yearthe city began sending public works employees to the Plaza del Sol in downtown Sunnyvale to send out $20 green laser pointers to aim at the crows.

After a month and a half, the city regarded it as a successBut the crows had other plans and the crows were back, so Sunnyvale had to bring back the laser pointer in October.

And last month, the city waved its white flag.

“The lasers seem to be less effective than they were last year,” city spokesperson Jennifer Garnett told Mercury News. “Crows are so smart that they get used to deterrence or relocate to avoid them.”

Crows blanketing the skies in flocks as picturesque as those in Alfred Hitchcock films have become a more common occurrence in several Bay Area cities as crow populations have increased.

In recent years, the Golden Gate Audubon Society has counted more crows as part of its annual Christmas Bird Count. In 2021, this group of bird lovers counted his 2,429 crows in Auckland. This was 55% more than the average number of crows counted in the last decade and 25 times the average number counted in the last 25 years of the 20th century.

  • On Thursday, March 2, 2023, crows are flying in droves around an office building in downtown Sunnyvale, California. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

  • A large number of crows fly around the residential area in Tokyo...

    On Thursday, March 2, 2023, crows are flying en masse around a home in downtown Sunnyvale, California. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

  • Crows soar through downtown Sunnyvale, California on Thursday, March 2, 2023. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

In a prioritization session held last month, the Sunnyvale City Council ranked investigating possible mitigation measures for both crows and geese as one of its top priorities. Geese, which are known to be aggressive birds, tend to congregate around community centers.

Alisa Cisneros, an alderman who represents downtown, said she continued to receive complaints from residents last year, which she believes is why the council has made it a top priority this year.

“It’s a little fun because it’s not politics and it’s not controversial, but it’s a real issue that’s affecting our downtown,” she said.

These complaints range from crows covering sidewalks and benches with bird droppings to waking residents up in the morning with their loud crowing.

Recently, Cisneros heard one complaint that a crow committed Grand Theft Auto in which about 20 birds gathered in a tree above a resident’s truck and attacked anyone who tried to approach it for several days. .

The lawmaker joked that he was not detained by the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety for the crow crime.

In addition to complaints from residents, Mayor Larry Klein, the self-proclaimed “Crow Mayor,” has received emails from people across the country trying to solve the city’s crow conundrum.

“I have seen mechanical birds like peregrine falcons flap their wings to ward off crows. I heard it in a whisper,” he said. “I’ve heard all sorts of solutions, so I’ll leave it up to the staff to figure it out.”

In addition to green lasers, the Humane Society recommends crow distress signals, fireworks and hanging dead crow statues as forms of “humane harassment” to move crows to another location. increase.

But the two must learn how to live together until Sunnyvale figures out how to get rid of the crows.

“Wildlife contact with cities is a big problem for fires and crows,” Cisneros says. “It’s a whole area of ​​policy to figure out how to negotiate that, and while you can’t take Sunnyvale down and give it to the crows, you can learn how to work with the natural and built environments.”

A crow perches in a tree by an office building in downtown Sunnyvale, California, Thursday, March 2, 2023. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) The birds are back in Sunnyvale. City pivots green laser strategy – East Bay Times

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