Downtown Portland Clean & Safe partners with bird abatement company to clear crows

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 9:52 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The crow patrol is officially on duty in downtown Portland.

“We’re hearing plip plop, plip plop,” Lisa Schroeder said.

Schroeder isn’t talking about the rain we’ve been seeing. She’s talking about crow poop.

“Falling and falling and falling and we realized, yeah, there’s a need for this downtown,” Schroeder said. “We really need to get those crows out of here and have them roost somewhere else.”

For six years, Downtown Portland Clean and Safe has been working with Integrated Avian Solutions to keep roosting crows out of downtown Portland.

Every fall and winter, Clean and Safe said 15,000 crows make their home downtown and leave their mark on sidewalks and benches, which becomes an unsanitary nuisance.

With the help of five trained hawks and their falconers, murders of crows are chased away from downtown night after night.

“Mostly the hawks keep track of us. If we’ve done our training right, that’s what happens. So, I release my hawk he moves around and basically follows me because he knows I have treats, I have rewards for him,” Kourt Clayton, the owner of Integrated Avian Solutions, said. “All the crows that encounter him are going to run essentially and it’ll clear that block and we move onto the next block.”

Clayton and his hawk Clive have been a pair since the program started. They patrol treetops and buildings four nights a week, six months a year.

“I love it, it’s been a hobby. Falconry has been a hobby of mine for 30 years,” Clayton said.

Portlanders who got to witness these predators in action are relieved no crows are harmed on their flight out of town.

“I think it’s really exciting they don’t have to hurt the crows, it’s like nature taking its course!” Schroeder said.

The roosting season starts in October and runs through April, so if you visit downtown at night, you may spot a falconer and their hawk.