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Crow Patrol Takes Aim

The Terre Haute crow patrol uses pyrotechnics to keep crows from roosting downtown. Each fall they work seven days a week for four months to keep the nuisance out of the city.
If you've seen downtown Terre Haute in the fall you know when you look up at the changing leaves, you also see crows flying through the sky. The crows that come to the city are from the northern part of the country, so Indiana is their winter home. But the Terre Haute crow patrol is aiming to end that habit.

"IT's been an issue that the Terre Haute area has dealt with for years," said Jim Luzar.

Not just a few, the crows come in thousands to downtown each year. They roost and make city buildings their new home. Their winter home causes a nuisance to permanent residents of the city. They even disrupt business.

"We've had carpets damaged that had to be replaced," Luzar said. "Car washes that had to basically stop servicing clients because of crow droppings."

The crows spend their days in the fields of West Terre Haute, but fly across the Wabash River just before dusk each night. The close proximity of the buildings provide warmth and the lights provide protection from predators. Members of crow patrol say shooting off fireworks to scare the birds away is only meant to disrupt habits.

"We're not trying to damage the crows," Luzar said. "We're just trying to disperse the roosting so we dilute the droppings."

Disrupting their habits can be challenging. The patrol says crows have high intelligence and are even able to adjust to human patterns.

"They can even recognize our faces. They can recognize the vehicles we drive so if we do the same thing every night the crows are going to be maneuvering," said Luzar.

The city purchased several different types of fireworks to scare the birds including cannons that will be strategically placed along the Wabash to scare the birds before they even cross the river. For the next four months, seven days a week, the crow patrol will be scanning the horizon to keep the nuisances out of the skyline.

If you're interested in helping on the crow patrol, they meet in the city hall parking lot each night at 5:30 P.M. You will receive training before going out on patrol. Patrols end at 7 P.M.
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