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"The Banded Crow"
by John Consolini

It was a pleasant day with only two hours left before darkness. I rolled up to my commercial job to control the bird problems that exist there. My job is animal damage control. I started a business about fifteen years ago solving animal problems with critters in the urban and metropolitan areas. The business was basically trapping of nuisance wildlife such as raccoons, squirrels, skunks, etc. As time went on I implemented birds, bats, and other critters. The business grew almost overnight. I picked up several commercial accounts in which some of them include bird control, such as house sparrows, starlings, and woodpeckers and of course crows.

One of my commercial accounts is a grocery warehouse. At the warehouse, food is shipped out to grocery stores on a daily basis. Somewhere around 250 trucks come and go everyday. The bay doors of this large warehouse are opened most of the day to move trucks and products in and out. Because of this the birds enter to find food inside the warehouse. Most of the birds that enter into the warehouse are house sparrows. These birds need to be controlled to keep them out of the building and away from the products.

Now why would anybody want to control this you ask? Well it is very simple. Because of the disease factor that birds carry. The problems exist in birds such as pigeons, sparrows, starlings and crows is 1) a health hazard to the employees at these locations, 2) financial loss suffered as a result of bird excreta on products, 3) potential condemnation of stored products, 4) increased maintenance due to paint deterioration on equipment from bird droppings, 5) increase janitorial cost because of droppings throughout the area, 6) and nuisance factor involved with flight patterns over machinery, automobiles and people just to name a few.

What I do is try to keep the bird numbers down to a manageable number that will please everybody. Most of the time I am doing a lethal control, which means I am controlling the birds by shooting them. I control birds inside and outside. When I started at this account two years ago, there was somewhere around two to three hundred crows on top of the warehouse buildings at any given time. The bird droppings on the cars turned a nice clean car in the morning to a dirty one by the end of the day.

I live in the Seattle area and a reporter for one of our news stations said last year that Seattle had one crow per square foot. Thatís a lot of crows. And Iím not too sure he wasnít right. There is a pile of crows here. I shoot all of the birds at this account with an air rifle. I use an RWS model 48/52. I purchased this rifle about ten years ago and am very pleased with it. It is in .177 cal. and move out at 1100 fps. This is a great caliber for shooting birds.

As I arrived at the warehouse, I spotted several crow on top of the warehouse and on top of wood pallets that were stacked thirty feet high. One thing that I have learned from shooting crows at this place is that I stay inside my truck and drive around to shoot them.

The reason is that the birds are used to trucks moving around all day and will fly away if they see anybody walking around. So I drive up to them within thirty yards and shoot from my truck. I guess you could call me a sniper on crows. After awhile they know the color of my truck and will fly off as soon as they spot it. I have shot a couple thousand crows over the last three or four years using an air rifle. This day started just like any other day of controlling birds. What I do is shoot crows and throw them up on top of the warehouse roof. The reason for this is that crows donít like to see other dead crows and will not land and stay on the rooftops. I learned this years ago when I worked for USDA-UPHIS-ADC.

I drove by a stack of pallets where this crow was sitting. I shot the bird and it dropped over and didnít move. Now if the bird is on top of a thirty-foot high pile of pallets I will leave it there. I drove around and shot eight more crows and picked them up and threw them on top of the warehouse roof in different places. I drove by the pallets and I noticed that the crow dropped down between two stacks of pallets that were about six inches apart. I will not leave dead birds lying around because this would be a good reason to loose this account, so I picked up a stick and pulled the dead bird out from in between the pallets. I threw it in the back of my pickup and drove around some more. I pulled back to the warehouse and grabbed the bird and went to throw it up on top of the warehouse and just before I let it fly, I noticed that it has leg bands on it, not one but four.

What a surprise! I have never seen a banded crow before. When I worked for USDA years ago we banded some geese but I didnít know of anybody banding crows. When I got back home I had to call it in to report it and to check on its history. The woman that took the information over the phone said that this was also a first for her. The bird had four leg bands, one metal with numbers and three plastic colored bands. The bird is an old bird and the bands I believe had been on a long time. The legs of this bird show that they had been there a long time due to the calluses on its feet. Take a good look at his feet and you can tell. Metal bands have the numbers and the color bands are sometimes between states or countries.

To date, they donít have any information on this bird, and I donít think they are going to find it. The Department of Interior said that they would contact the person that banded the bird and get the information. If you get a banded crow or banded duck, goose or any other bird you can report it to the Department of Interior or contact What you will receive is the history of the bird and a certificate of appreciation. You can also learn more about banding birds at www.usgs.gov/bbl.

It was a great day of hunting but what was different was that I ended up with a banded crow (a trophy). This is the first banded crow I have ever seen and I think I might get it mounted.

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