PEI

You may be seeing more crows, but no, it's not unusual

Dwayne Hawkes has lived on Hillsborough Street in Charlottetown for 10 years. Recently, he says his peaceful neighbourhood has been disrupted by some new visitors — crows.

A number of Charlottetown residents say crows seem to be moving into neighbourhoods beyond Brighton

Some Charlottetown residents say crows are showing up in areas of the city they weren't in before. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Dwayne Hawkes has lived on Hillsborough Street in Charlottetown for 10 years. Recently, he says his peaceful neighbourhood has been disrupted by some new visitors — crows. 

"Two weeks ago they became really bad. There was thousands, thousands of them. Cars were covered, it was a mess," Hawkes said. 

Charlottetown may be known for its large population of crows, but some in the city say the birds seem to be taking up residence in new neighbourhoods. 

Crows in new neighbourhoods

Crows in Charlottetown are traditionally known to roost in Victoria Park and Brighton. When Hawkes noticed the onslaught of birds in his area, he wondered what was going on.

"It's the first time we've seen it, we all thought something was going on in Victoria Park and they were shooing them out or something and they just decided to land here," Hawkes said.

Dwayne Hawkes says 'thousands' of crows recently showed up on Hillsborough Street, and have been causing a huge mess. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

And he's not the only one who's thought the same thing. 

Jacqueline Sorensen Young says crows recently showed up at her downtown home, and the droppings they've left behind have caused a nuisance.

Coun. Mitch Tweel says he's also been hearing from residents concerned about the crow population, and brought up the issue at a recent city council meeting. As a result, Beth Hoar, the city's parkland conservationist, prepared a report about crows for the environment and sustainability committee. 

'No permanent solution'

Hoar says crows have a long history in Charlottetown, with reports of the birds dating back to the late 1800s.

While they may be associated with the Victoria Park area, she says it's not uncommon for them to move around to different residential areas.

At the moment, she says the city does not have any measures in place to try to deter the crows or control the population.

Crows are known to roost in Victoria Park and Brighton, but the city's parkland conservationist says it's not uncommon for the birds to move around to other neighbourhoods. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

The city did a pilot project in 2009, where it loaned out noise making devices called wailers to residents, as a way to deter the birds. But she says it didn't work. 

"That year the crows moved all over the city, and people were not very happy with that movement of the crows, so we only did that that one year," said Hoar.

"I've done a lot of research, I've talked to a lot of biologists, I've talked to the Island falconry company, to just see what can be done about them, and there's really no permanent solution to a roosting population."

'A fantastic bird'

For those who do get annoyed with crows near their homes, Hoar suggests making noise, or doing "anything to make the crows uncomfortable." 

While crows are a nuisance for many, for some, it's just part of living in Charlottetown. Some even welcome the birds as neighbours.

Sean Butler says he's 'pro crow.' In the backyard at his parents' house there's even a statue of a crow. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

"I'm a big fan. I'm definitely pro crow," said Sean Butler, who lives in Sherwood. 

"They're wonderful to watch, they're a fantastic bird.… We do get pooped on a little bit, but I think it's something we can put up with."

More P.E.I. news

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah MacMillan is a reporter with CBC Sudbury. She previously worked with CBC P.E.I. You can contact her at sarah.macmillan@cbc.ca

With files from Isabella Zavarise

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