At dusk on Tuesday, the large group of crows could have been mistaken for a scene right out of a movie.
“When the sun starts to set, they come around,” resident Frank Hampton told ABC7 News.
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Hampton referred to the large group of crows that made yet another nocturnal return to Downtown Sunnyvale. A group of crows is called a “murder”.
“You look up at the sky and it’s almost like a planetarium,” described resident Scott Kilbourn. “Where you see all these dots up in the sky, and it’s just, I do not know, nature at its best.”
Swaminathan Sundaramurthy was in the center along with his 2-year-old son on Tuesday. He explained: “It’s fascinating on one level or another, but I’m not really a big fan of them to be honest. Because they tend to gather in very large numbers, and they create a lot of tumult.”
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It’s the fuss – the noise and clutter that covers sidewalks and outdoor seating that forces city leaders to find another way to keep the city crow-free.
“We’ve tried several things. In the past, we’ve had falcons, we’ve put reflectors in our trees, and nothing seems to help,” Mayor Larry Klein explained.
He now said the city is turning to cheap technology – specifically, $ 20 green lasers to annoy birds to leave.
“It’s far better than spending hundreds of dollars spray-painting the sidewalks every few weeks,” Mayor Klein added. “Or spray wash Murphy Avenue because of the health risk.”
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Mayor Klein said the Downtown Association even supplies lasers to restaurants along historic Murphy Avenue.
On Tuesday, ABC7 News saw clear signs and heard stories of bird droppings falling for dinner.
“So close,” Hampton signaled with his hands. “Ha ha! Really close! I know a few people who have.”
If he eats dinner on Murphy Ave., he takes the crows into consideration.
“I go inside unless I’m under an umbrella,” Hampton said. “The thing is, they’re not here during the day, it’s just at night. It’s just when they start getting around when the sun goes down.”
Hampton and others told ABC7 News about measures they have seen elsewhere, including recorded crow-emergency calls, pyrotechnics, even hanging pictures of dead crows. These are proposals also submitted by the Humane Society of the United States.
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Mayor Klein explained: “Effiies and other things … they catch on relatively quickly. But the green lasers seem to get rid of a large percentage of them, at least talking to some of our residents who have already started use them. “
But the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society said it is deeply concerned about the crows.
In a statement to ABC7 News, CEO Matthew Dodder said in part: “We do not see the use of lasers as a reasonable way to address the problem of overpopulation among these intelligent birds. They may leave for a while but will likely return. lasers a threat of blindness to the birds that we can not tolerate, as well as a risk to humans and aircraft.This should be avoided as a tactic against the birds’ overpopulation in our area.We are in favor of further exploration of solutions that do not involve potentially harmful use of lasers. “
Mayor Klein said the city plans to launch the pilot program by the end of the month.
He added: “If we can just get them to spread to different neighborhoods and not be in one centralized location, I think it will be useful for Sunnyvale in general.”
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