TriMet using hawks to stop poop from 10,000 crows
Look out below!
Crows are a common sight in downtown Portland, with an estimated murder of 7,000 to 10,000 roosting each night between fall and spring.
And while there's no polite way to say it — those birds have to do their bird business somewhere.
In fact, TriMet already spends about $1.5 million a year on a contract with Portland Mall Management to clean up their transportation corridor, known as the Portland Transit Mall. Established in 1977, the 57-block span along 5th and 6th avenues is traversed by about 1,500 buses and 300 light-rail trains daily.
But the cleaners can't be everywhere at once, especially in the early morning hours. So the regional transit agency has found what they hope will be a non-lethal solution to the fowl fouling up bus stop benches, sidewalks, public art and MAX platforms.
They've hired their first-ever "Crow Patrol," each team comprised of one human — and one hawk.
"They don't pursue the crows, they don't catch the crows, they're not killing the crows," said Kort Clayton, owner of local business Integrated Avian Solutions.
The hawks act as a sort of living scarecrow, and the falconers say it's a modern method for deterring nusiance birds. Clayton also uses a lazer pointer to guide his youthful Harris's hawk named Clive toward trouble spots.
"The crows know that they're a dangerous presence and the crows go somewhere else, and our mission is accomplished," he explained. "At the beginning of the day, and still at the end of the day, the Transit Mall is clear of crows."
Check out a video of the new patrols in action here.