Crows flock to Waterloo neighborhoods - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Crows flock to Waterloo neighborhoods


Some call them a nuisance and they're flying into eastern Iowa. You've probably noticed the thousands of crows flocking around businesses and homes this time every year and bird experts say they won't be going away anytime soon.

These birds find the tallest trees in the neighborhood and usually stay there all night long. When morning comes, anything underneath those trees is covered in droppings. Despite this nuisance, area experts say these birds are very smart and get a bad wrap.

Chris Anderson, a Program Coordinator for Hartman Nature Reserve, has studied the crow and says they don't migrate south for the winter like other birds.

"They will migrate to localized areas where food sources are easier to get. In urban areas we salt our roads and so there's a more exposed area where grain trucks drive over and drop grain on the ground so food's easier to get. There's also safety in numbers," said Anderson.

The Waterloo Police Department receives a number of complaints about these birds and tries its best to get the birds to leave the area.

"Late at night when they come into roost we'll shoot as many as we can. The ones we shoot we gather up and dispose of properly. We do this a couple of times and see if it works and if they move on somewhere else and find a different place to roost," said Captain Tim Pillack of the Waterloo Police Department.

"The birds will congregate through a majority of the winter and then as we get into spring, which is closer to their breeding season, they'll start to disperse and break up and move out to nesting areas," said Anderson.

Anderson also says if you can get past the cawing and their droppings the crow is a very misunderstood bird.

"They're absolutely fascinating creatures. There are some great books out there and websites where [people] can learn about them. Then maybe they wouldn't decry the crow so much if they learned a little more about just how cool they really are," said Anderson.

Last year the Waterloo Police Department got the flocks of crows to roost along the river. Officials with the department say that was the perfect place because it was out of the way and they didn't bother anyone there.

Before any crows are shot, the Waterloo Police Department notifies people living in the neighborhood. Officials with the department say the DNR has also approved this method to move the birds.

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