Rochester, N.Y. - The telltale signs are everywhere near Washington Square Park.
“If you look at the poop down there, there’s a lot,” said Jeanne Colt.
Benches, parking meters and sidewalks are splattered with bird droppings.
“I went here to have lunch and it was hard to find a place to sit down and have a few pieces of fruit,” said Mauro Laspagnoletta.
The crows are back.
“They came back for the holiday?” said Mayor Tom Richards.
In February, the city hired the USDA for more than $20,000 to chase the birds out of downtown. For five nights, the USDA used fireworks, lasers and distress calls to get the birds to move on. The roost had an estimated 20,000 crows or more.
“It’s a little bit disturbing that they did spend quite a bit of money to clear the birds out, but now they’ve come back,” said Laspagnoletta.
“I think you get whoever chased them out back again,” said Colt.
The USDA said the crows would be back and its team of wildlife experts would return if needed.
Some observers say it doesn’t appear there are as many crows and their flight pattern is different. But Brian Herne, a member of the Rochester Falcon club and lifelong bird watcher, thinks the crows have returned in similar numbers. On Monday night, he estimated 26,000 crows over downtown.
“They’re back with a force,” Herne said. “They’re going to keep coming every year because they love it here.”
“I’ve been waiting for this. It’s now going into winter. This is what they do. They roost downtown in numbers for safety. This is a historical roost,” said June Summers of the Audubon Society. She added the crows can be a health hazard.
“If they become a nuisance that really can’t be tolerated, we’ll chase them away again,” said Richards.