Got an answer to some questions I’d asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation for story I did last week about crows:
Here were my questions (in a choppier form than I wrote them; broken up to make the answers more obvious), and answers from DEC spokeswoman Wendy Rosenbach:
Q) I was wondering, are there fewer crows this year regionally than in past years?
A) DEC doesn’t have any monitoring programs for wintering crows, but based on DEC staff observations from Albany to Amsterdam, they are not aware of any obvious decline in crow numbers this year. The shift in Middletown may be the result of an effective hazing program, the whole idea is to move the birds to another location where they are not such a nuisance.
Q) Something to do with the weather, with crow diseases, with something else that might be influencing their population numbers or migration patterns?
A) In areas where people are seeing fewer crows, it could be weather related. More snow on the ground can make it harder for birds to find food, so the animals may move south to warmer areas with more available food, similar to geese. Some evidence suggests that local breeding crow populations have been reduced in some areas by West Nile Virus, but this began or occurred up to a decade ago, not just in the last year or so.