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‘Bird is the word’ at council meeting

Integrated Avian Solutions (IAS), a falconry-based bird abatement company, will issue its first report to the Madera City Council Wednesday evening.

The council meeting starts at 7 p.m.

The council retained IAS late last year after complaints that thousands of crows had moved into the downtown Madera area and were painting the area with droppings.

Business owners said the crow attacks were leaving an unsanitary coating on sidewalks, vehicles and parking lots, and sometimes on people. They said the crows were driving business away from the central area.

“We have had a remarkably successful season of crow control, and hope you are pleased with the results of our work,” according to a report from IAS that the council will hear Wednesday.

“Upon request, we initiated the project on Dec. 5, 2018. We typically suggest beginning crow management projects on Oct. 1, however we did not begin discussions with the Madera Downtown Association until November,” IAS said. “We deployed four nights per week during December and January, then three nights per week for February and March, and two nights per week for April. We arrived on Dec. 5 to find impressive amounts of crow droppings covering the sidewalks and streets.

“Equally impressive numbers of crows (2,000 to 5,000) were present throughout the Business Improvement District. As expected with a late-season start, crow activity was significant for the first half of December as the offending population adapted to pressure exerted by our team,” IAS added. “Crows were persistent throughout the downtown, most notably along the roof of Madera Government Center, on the power lines and traffic signal poles at Gateway Drive and 4th Street, and throughout the trees along Yosemite Avenue and 6th Street.

“By mid-December we had evicted the vast majority of crows from the project area, with the occasional intrusion of birds. By Jan. 1, we had the population under control and regularly worked shifts without a single crow present. The project area remained crow-free for the next three months.”

Businesses reported noticeable reductions in bird droppings on the sidewalks. Crows relocated to the outskirts of town and to eucalyptus trees along State Route 99.

Funding for the month of December came from the Madera Downtown Association. At the beginning of January both the City Council and County Board of Supervisors approved additional funding to continue the project through April. In mid-January, the project was expanded project pro bono to include the police station and post office, to address a group of crows roosting there.

Although it would be convenient if the crows opted to avoid your downtown next winter, it is highly unlikely. Based on observations this season, and the success of the program, repeating the program for 2018-2019 is recommend, with an Oct. 1 start date.

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