Sunnyvale Looking at High Tech to Combat Crows Flocking to the City

"They're very intimidating. Very reminiscent of 'The Birds,' the movie," a resident said

NBC Universal, Inc. The city of Sunnyvale is dealing with a major problem involving a specific kind of bird — crows. Damian Trujillo reports.

The city of Sunnyvale is dealing with a major problem involving a specific kind of bird -- crows.

The vice mayor said it's the second most common complaint from residents, and there are ongoing discussions about how to keep the crows away using high tech.

Apparently, the crows flock to downtown Sunnyvale looking for a morsel or two and leave behind unwanted evidence of their visit. The crows have even been seen swooping onto residents plates at outdoor dining areas.

"They're very intimidating," said Sunnyvale resident Katelin Parkos. "Very reminiscent of 'The Birds,' the movie," she said.

Vice Mayor Alysa Cisneros said the noise is unbearable.

"We have Caltrain right there, and it actually competes with Caltrain in terms of noise pollution in the downtown area," she said.

Matthew Dodder from the Audubon Society, an American nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to conservation of birds and their habitats, said the crows are overpopulated right now.

"And that's primarily due to their familiarity and ability to adapt to human habitation," Dodder explained.

The city of Sunnyvale is looking at options to resolve the issue, and that includes the possibility of falcon hunters. But they're also considering a more high-tech approach: laser pointers.

Some residents have shared their success using lasers to chase the birds off their lawns, so the city is giving it a try.

"We are currently looking at laser pointers to humanely annoy the crows into leaving," Cisneros told NBC Bay Area.

The Audubon Society said it doesn't have an answer but is adamant that lasers are not the solution.

"I have real concerns about the use of lasers," Dodder said. "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."

City staff will bring recommendations to the city council in the coming weeks.

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