Officials believe the effort to rid the village of thousands of crows was successful: They can hear and see it.
CLIFTON SPRINGS — When it came to dispersing thousands of crows in the village, operation shock and caw quickly turned to came and went.
Four days’ worth of pyrotechnics, spotlights, lasers and amplified recordings of crow distress signals were planned last week to disperse a massive winter roost of crows, estimated at 5,000 to 10,000 birds.
But it appears the first night of the effort last Tuesday and a shorter follow-up the next day were all it took for the village and wildlife biologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to see the visitors take wing — hopefully, they said, for good.
“We are crossing our fingers,” said Village Clerk Lori Reals.
The birds began showing up in massive numbers around Christmastime. Right around dusk every night, crows by the thousands darkened treetops and with their caws created a deafening din.
For Jim Cloonan, who lives near what used to be a popular crow roost, it was even worse in the morning.
Crows are still in the village. But where a little over a week ago there were thousands of crows, now there are maybe for or five in a tree at a given time.
“It’s beautiful now,” Cloonan said Friday. “We have a nice quiet neighborhood.”
Clifton Springs Police Chief Scott Upchurch said the noise from the crows was quite loud and was disturbing residents. But the effort to disperse the birds was primarily driven by health and safety, particularly because of the waste left behind by the crows, he said.
The effort to notify residents of the dispersal effort was successful, as only one call was received after the loud noises started, Upchurch said.
“This is a new one,” said Upchurch, who has worked with the village since 1997 and as chief since 2000.
But while they appear to have moved elsewhere, these crows who helped put the village in what Reals described as a “bad movie” are not forgotten.
“They’re gone,” Cloonan said. “But I still listen and go out and check at dusk.”