USDA Team Arrives To Combat Crows In Rochester

Posted at: 12/03/2012 8:59 PM
Updated at: 12/03/2012 10:21 PM
By: Dietrich Nissen

(ABC 6 News) -- If you're in Rochester between 4 p.m. and 7:30 a.m., you may see random flashes of light and hear loud squawking noises.

Don't worry as that's just a few teams of U.S. Department of Agriculture biologists trying to drive out the thousands of crows in the city. It's been almost a year since the city spent money to tackle the crow problem head on and now it's round two.

Ask pretty much anyone living in Rochester and they'll tell you the crows have got to go.

"I would sure like to get them back out in the country away from our town," says 50-year resident, Helen Prasil.

"They're kind of gross if you ask me," says local business employee, Dan Forliti. "I say get rid of them whichever way you can."

After last year's dismal results, not many are confident these new teams will succeed.

"Probably for a while they were a little effective. But I mean, you can see now that it's- they're back in full force so I'm not sure that was the answer," says Forliti.

The latest group of crow fighters consists of eight USDA Wildlife biologists. They’re split up into four teams of two using tactics similar to last year's group. Their equipment includes lights and lasers, discomforting noises, and even, mini-fireworks.

"I don't know it's a problem we're going to solve but I think it's certainly a problem we can reduce," says Rochester’s development administrator, Doug Knott. The city set aside $30,000 dollars for this new team after spending around $25,000 on a private team last year. The difference will be this team's five-day, 14-and-a-half-hour shifts, and their tactics.

"Basically [the other team] stayed in this relatively small area where the main roosts have been. Our intent is after we've dispersed the main roosting sites, we'll follow them to wherever they go and continue to harass, and haze them. We think that'll be a little more effective than what they used last year," says USDA Wildlife Services state director, Gary Nohrenberg. However, Rochester residents remain skeptical suggesting more aggressive methods.

"I don't know if they can shoot nets over them, trap them, send them up in the woods up north..ya know, get rid of them," says Forliti.

The team wants the public's help. If you spot a large murder of crows in a part of the city, call the city administrator’s office at: (507) 328-2000.