The St. Louis University student newspaper, The University News, recently published a piece on the unusual number of crows on campus this year. Terry Palmisano, a maintenance worker for 31 years at the university, said that this was the first year that the crows actually became a problem. And they are definitely leaving their mark on campus.
“The cars in the back of the [Marchetti parking] lot are loaded with bird feces, Palmisano recently told the studnet paper. “…At night, there are hundreds, and it is freaky when they are flying all over the place.”
A biologist at the university understands why the crows are so prevalent this year.
According to Thomas Valone, a behavioral ecologist in the Department of Biology, crows often gather in urban areas for winter roosts because of big trees, open areas, unnatural lighting and food waste. Urban areas are also five to 10 degrees warmer than rural areas because of the heat island effect, which traps the sun’s into urban areas and creates a warmer environment for the crows.
To fend off the crows and the damage they leave behind, the university purchased two life-sized Great Horned Owl decoys with four-and-a-half-foot wingspans. The Great Horned Owl is a natural predator to the crows. Bird-X‘s Prowler Owl fits this billing to a tee.
The Great Horned Owl is so feared amongst birds because it captures and eats almost anything that moves. Birds instinctively avoid the Prowler Owl as they would a Great Horned Owl. And set-up for the Prowler Owl is beyond simple; it mounts practically anywhere and it is constantly moving in the wind making it more dynamic.
St. Louis University will be receiving their owl decoys by the end of the week. They have also considered sound devices, which would work wonderfully along with the Prowler Owl. Affecting multiple senses is the most effective way to eliminate pest birds.