Capitol crow dispersal program delayed by wind

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — An effort to frighten away large flocks of crows from the Pennsylvania Capitol was delayed by high winds on Monday.

The dispersal program, in place annually since 1997, works when special noise-making shotgun and pistol rounds are fired into the air. When the effort gets underway later this week or next, it will continue throughout the winter months until the crows leave.

People within a close vicinity to the Capitol Complex could hear loud explosions and high-pitched squeals between the hours of 5-7 p.m. Personnel with special orange-colored firearms may also be seen.

“Each year, we make sure that the public and state employees are made aware that the use of exploding shells and whistling rounds will be used so they’re not startled,” said Troy Thompson, press secretary for the state Department of General Services. “Our intention is to startle the crows, not the public.”

According to Thompson, if left unchecked and allowed to roost, the crows can cause damage to the exterior of the Capitol building and present health and safety hazards.

“They can create a slipping hazard with their waste,” Thompson said, “especially in the form of wet ground for pedestrians.”

Thompson says the crows do not like darkness and are attracted to the ambient light created by the Capitol and the lights lining Veterans Grove at the rear of the complex.

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