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Why so many crows? Experts say they are roosting in Five Cities neighborhoods

Posted at 7:21 PM, Dec 12, 2019

People in the Five Cities area are noticing flocks of large, intelligent, ink-black birds in nearby parks, streets and even their own front lawns.

Wildlife experts say crows have recently expanded to urban and suburban areas as they scavenge for food left in the streets, trash cans and marinas.

California Fish and Wildlife researchers also say the crows gather together in trees to keep warm.

Many residents said the groups of crows they see during morning and evening hours are creating a nuisance.

"They line up on the post light here and there was so much white poop that I thought someone had spilled paint," said Vikki Lindner, an Arroyo Grande resident.

It's not just the size of the flock that's catching people's attention, but also the noise.

You can see large flocks from late summer until about February as they loudly gather to search fields for food.

Experts say during that time, the roost breaks up into smaller flocks to feed in the morning and by afternoon join each other in the sky as they make their way back home.

The Morro Coast Audubon Society says the reason crows seem to "disappear" in the spring in summer is because they pair up in breeding territories rather than flock together in big groups.

Even though they are harmless, the frequent gatherings still make some people think of a famous Alfred Hitchcock movie.

"It reminds me of that movie, 'The Birds,' so I notice it a lot because that movie freaked me out."

The crow's popularity even landed them a spot on the Grover Beach Sourdough business logo.

"We did a poll and we had a few different logos and the one with the crow, it won unanimously," said Jacob Town, owner of Grover Beach Sourdough and the Spoontrade. "Everyone from loving crows to hating on crows all still picked the crow logo."

Fish and Wildlife experts say crows return to the same roost year after year because they can remember the favorable characteristics.

If they are a nuisance in your neighborhood, you can be proactive by closing trash can lids, putting bird netting over crops or getting a good old fashioned scarecrow.

If you believe the crow population is creating a public health hazard due to droppings, wildlife experts say you should notify your local health department.

To read more about crows, click here.