WATERTOWN — Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith is fed up with the thousands of crows roosting in the city this winter and the droppings they leave behind.
The crows are apparently creating more of mess than in recent years, so Mayor Smith said Monday night that the city needs to take more drastic action to get rid of the pesky birds.
Such downtown buildings as the Jefferson County Historical museum and the Flower Memorial Library are getting hit hard by feces this year, he said.
“They are destructive to our iconic buildings,” he said. “They’re out of control.”
On Monday night, he suggested that “lethal means” be used so that “friends and colleagues” of the birds see them die and it scares the others away.
He asked Police Chief Charles P. “Chip” Donoghue what else can be done other than the crow-hazing methods that have been used for the past several years.
After the meeting, Chief Donoghue remembered that the city’s crow-hazing consultants, Loomacres Wildlife Management, Warnerville, has used high-powered air guns to kill a few crows, with the idea that it would scare the others away.
“It’s up to them,” he said to chase the crows from the city, not the police department.
Showing up nightly at dusk, thousands of the pesky birds roost in trees around Watertown every year and stick around until the weather warms up in early spring.
Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo said she’s also heard that the library and historical society building are “getting particularly hit” by crow droppings this winter.
But wildlife biologists from Loomacres have scheduled continued crow hazing for Thursday and Friday, with the hopes of moving nuisance flocks out of the city.
The wildlife biologists have already been here several times this season.
They’ve been using basically the same hazing methods they’ve had in the past.
The hazing includes the use of spotlights, specialized remote-controlled aircraft, playing distress calls, firing pyrotechnics, and using hand-held lasers and paint ball markers.
The crows like to go into urban areas, like Watertown, because temperatures are higher than in the country, where they feed and stay during the day in the winter, before moving into the city at night.
Eight years ago, as many as 30,000 crows roosted in trees in and around downtown when Loomacres took over the hazing efforts in 2011.
Last winter, between 10,000 and 12,000 crows made downtown their home.
The company will be paid $16,238 over three years to chase the crows out of downtown and neighborhoods.
The toll-free number to report crow activities is 1-800-243-1462, ext. 1.