California city may use lasers to combat nuisance crows

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Jan. 12 (UPI) -- A California city in which thousands of crows have become a public nuisance is turning to a potential high-tech solution: lasers.

Residents of Sunnyvale said the crows frequently are seen flocking over the downtown area, covering sidewalks and outdoor seating areas with their droppings.


Locals also complained that the crows create a large amount of noise at night with their calls.

"We have Caltrain right there, and it actually competes with Caltrain in terms of noise pollution in the downtown area," Vice Mayor Alysa Cisneros told KNTV.

Mayor Larry Klein said the city has tried numerous methods of driving the birds away, but none showed any long-term success.

"We've tried multiple things. In the past, we've had falcons, we've put reflectors in our trees, and nothing seems to help," Klein told KGO-TV.

The city is preparing to start a pilot program to test green lasers to drive the crows away.

"It's far better than spending hundreds of dollars to spray wash the sidewalks every few weeks or spray wash Murphy Avenue because of that health risk," Klein said.

Officials with the Audubon Society said they are worried about the plan.


"I have real concerns about the use of lasers," said Matthew Dodder, executive director of the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. "Lasers can blind the birds, which is a death sentence for the birds because they can't see, they can't fly or feed properly."

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