PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Hundreds gathered Tuesday night to catch a glimpse of specially-trained hawks scaring crows from roosting in downtown Portland.

The Portland Business Alliance’s Downtown Portland Clean and Safe program is in its third year of using a falconer to keep crows and their messy poop at bay.

The hawks fly a 72 block stretch in the downtown corridor – working a few nights each week to discourage some 15,000 crows from roosting in the trees at night.

“They just dump everything where they’re at,” said Steve Johnson, a plumber who works nights downtown. “We went through a period three or four years ago where the truck was getting covered in about two hours.”

Cars, sidewalks, benches, handrails, and just about everything else under the trees is fair game when Mother Nature calls, leading to concentrated splatters of bird poop.

“They make a mess, they’re a problem,” said Kort Clayton, with Integrated Avian Solutions. “They’re a challenge for the business community.”

Clayton and his fellow employees brought three Harris hawks out for a demonstration.

“Our goal is to disperse them,” Clayton said of the crows. “We’re not killing them, we’re not abusing them, we’re just hazing them gently - enough to push them into other areas.”

“We don’t teach them to do very much,” Clayton added. “They like to fly around, they like to sit on perches, they like to chase things occasionally.”

Johnson said he appreciates the effort and the hawks have made a big difference downtown.

“It has gotten much, much better,” Johnson said.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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