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Victoria Park in Charlottetown not the only gathering spot for thousands of crows

BRIAN MCINNIS/TC MEDIAA crow perches on a fence as it looks for a snack during one wionter day recently.
BRIAN MCINNIS/TC MEDIAA crow perches on a fence as it looks for a snack during one wionter day recently.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Charlottetown Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy says the city has tried everything in its power to deal with the crow population but hasn’t found a permanent solution.

It’s a well-known fact that Victoria Park has been a popular gathering spot for the black creatures, but lately the population has been spreading.

Now crows are showing up in large numbers around Prince Street Elementary School, in parts of the Brighton neighbourhood, at UPEI and out at the Charlottetown Mall.

“I assume folks are taking measures within those neighbourhoods where the crows are living to scare them off, but it doesn’t last very long,’’ Duffy said. “As soon as the noise or whatever is happening stops within a day or two they are back. It’s really a short-term effort.’’

The city began a crow count in 2009 with Holland College students, bird experts and city staff.

The city tried wailers, but there was little control over where the crows would go. Operating the wailers did not prove effective. It also raised a lot of concern with residents. The wailers were prone to breakdowns and are currently no longer available for use for that reason.

City staff also spoke with a falconry business, but it wasn’t considered a permanent solution and would need to be conducted annually over the winter roosting time period. There would also be no way to control where the crows would go.

Other deterrent measures have been tried – banging garbage can lids, spraying the crows with water, cap guns, air guns and more.

The city says it has been told by residents that things like cap guns will move the crows out of a backyard, but it’s not a permanent solution.

The city has also spoken to biologists over the years, and none could offer viable solutions. They also raised concerns about harassment of other urban wildlife/migratory birds because of the use of the wailers.

The city has reached out in recent weeks to experts in forest, fish and wildlife as well as a wildlife biologist but, again, with no permanent solution.

Duffy said one municipality he didn’t mention by name spends $70,000 of taxpayers’ money annually to address the issue with no report on its effectiveness.

“I don’t think it’s a wise use of taxpayers dollars,’’ he said. “All we would end up doing is moving them from one ward to another.’’

Duffy said they’re open to any reasonable ideas.

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