Humane Wildlife Management:
The Lancaster Crow Coalition, which includes representatives from Lancaster City, East Hempfield Township, East Petersburg Borough, Manheim Township, and the League of Humane Voters, responds each year to the crows' arrival.
The Lancaster Crow Coalition was formed to take a humane, non-lethal, and environmentally sound approach to managing the crows who migrate through Lancaster County each year -- as they've done for centuries. We welcome you and hope you'll help us by volunteering your time and interest in this project.
With a handful of volunteers in areas where crow roosts present a problem, we work with pyrotechnics (fireworks) and other non-lethal methods to manage the roosting locations chosen by approximately 15,000--30,000 migratory crows.
We rely on citizen reports to our hotline (717-572-9088) to let us know if more than a handful of crows are roosting in any populated place. 10 crows is not a roost. Any number of crows in an area nowhere near cars or buildings is not a problem. If, however, you have 50, 100 or 1000+ crows near your home, business, or parking area, call us IMMEDIATELY. The sooner we show up to make noise and make the place less desirable for roosting, the sooner the crows will move on. Complaining to your neighbors and calling the Mayor's office to yell doesn't help - a call to our HOTLINE does!
You will be connected to voicemail, but you will receive a return call within 12-24 hours, 7 days a week. If need be, one of our members will visit your location to assess the situation.
Since the Coalitions's formation, the crows have been successfully moved each year. When they turn up in "bad" places (shopping center parking lots, industrial areas, densely-populated neighborhoods), we use pyrotechnics and other non-lethal methods to move them along.
Penn State scientists studied our crows' behavior in past years and citizen volunteers continue to assist us in monitoring the crows and our efforts to manage their roosting choices. What we've learned has helped Lancaster and other towns and cities around the world to manage their crow populations in ways that are safe for the environment, compassionate toward wildlife, and sympathetic to humans' needs as well.
Over the summer of 2010, members of our Coalition worked with the city of Terre Haute, Indiana, to help them develop safe, humane, and cost-effective ways to handle their 60,000-crow flock of migratory birds. We were happy to help and to assist them in implementing our successful methods. The New York Times profiled Terre Haute, reporting that they're successfully implementing the methods we've found most successful.
A Heart-felt Thanks
To you, the citizens who put up with our loud fireworks in the early evenings -- and who kindly offer information via our hotline as to crow locations. Your support is greatly appreciated!
- Crow management will continue, each year, as needed. Migratory birds stick to the same path over and over, for decades, even centuries, and that's certainly true here, as our fertile landscape has been drawing them since before people started farming. Our continued development of former farmland and open space results in the crows' increasing presence in residential and commerical locations, but it's not their "fault" -- they're simply going where the food, light, and warmth are.
- Crows aren't pests, and while they may choose places to roost that cause problems, again, that's not their intention. They're actually helpful to farmers and gardeners, eating grubs and larvae and helping reduce pest control costs (and environmental risks) the next growing season. They warn other animals about predators (so songbirds at your backyard feeder know when a hawk is nearby, for example), and they eat road kill and other carrion, cleaning up the environment. Cultures throughout history have actually revered and respected them, and for good reason.
- Please call our hotline to let us know if you've got a lot of crows in your area. "A lot of crows" refers to groups in the hundreds or thousands -- not to small groups of one or two families -- and it's important that we only attempt to manage them if they're causing real problems for residents and businesses. The goal is to educate them, by where we harass them and where we don't, so they learn where they're welcome and where they're not.
- The crows should be left alone if they're not in parking lots, on rubber or asphalt roofs, or in trees along densely-populated streets (where their droppings land on cars or sidewalks). If you do have crows and feel that they're a problem, please call our hotline at 717-572-9088.