(WKBN) – What’s with all the crows lately?
Laurie Brown, a wildlife service technician with ODNR’s Division of Wildlife, has some answers as to why more have been seen flocking to the area.
Brown said the crows huddle together during the winter for warmth and protection from predators.
They also flock to urban areas once the sun goes down because there’s more light to see predators, which include great horned owls, bigger birds like hawks and eagles, coyotes and fox. Brown also said urban areas tend to have less of these predators.
“I’ve seen it in Youngstown, I’ve seen it in Cambridge and New Philadelphia,” Brown said. “It seems like historically, those have been places that they have gathered. Once breeding season comes, they will split up and go their separate ways.”
Predators are a concern year-round, but winter makes crows more vulnerable because the leaves on the trees are gone. Also, predators focus on the bigger groups of birds because it’s an easy target and they have a harder time finding food.
“A few days ago, I saw probably 600 of them just out my back window,” Youngstown resident Tim Gremmels said.
Gremmels started noticing the crows about two or three months ago and they start flocking after 2 p.m. He’s lived in the area for 11 years and said they come every couple years.
“It’s kind of freaky, though, because there’s so many of them. I’m of the era that remembers the original ‘Birds’ the movie,” Gremmels said with a chuckle.
Luckily, Gremmels hasn’t had any damage sans some extra feces on his roof. However, Brown said the feces and tearing of things on property is something they’ve gotten calls about.
“Similar to geese, harassment is the best tool,” Brown said of dispelling the birds, “But trying to get a flock of crows that consists of 100 or 1,000 birds to move on is a difficult task, especially when they’re used to coming back to that location year after year.”
They’re sociable animals so that also explains their tendency to flock, and they’re smart, according to Brown.
“Usually, for the most part, they’re not harmful in anyway, but they are intimidating to people,” Brown said.