Hawks vs. Crows: A silent battle pushes the problem bird out of downtown Portland

If you've ever been in downtown Portland, you've probably noticed the problem caused by crows... all over the ground.

But that problem is beginning to dissipate thanks to a new environmentally-friendly crow abatement project, and a hawk named 'Slag.'

The City of Portland has implemented a new program in which predatory hawks drive crows away from the downtown area.

Yes, really.

"We're using a team of falcons and two hawks, two Harris Hawks, and we'll work about 12 to 16 blocks to push crows out away from the core downtown," said Kort Clayton with Integrated Avian Solutions.

'Slag' is a Harris Hawk. She's part of a team from Integrated Avian Solutions hired by the Downtown Clean & Safe District to help clear out the crows.

"Crows are super intimidated by their presence, and they will leave that tree or that block and they'll go further down the block."

Clayton said each night the hawks have been out on crow patrol, there have been fewer and fewer of the pesky birds in the downtown area.

"We're not killing them, we're not impacting their survival, or even their ecology in a significant way," said Clayton. "We're just pushing them a few blocks out."

Clayton said the hawk program is an ideal solution because other techniques like pyrotechnics or scarecrow effigies are very conspicuous and would impact downtown activity.

"We're just four guys walking around with a couple Hawks."

And don't get worried about a hawk-pocalypse in Portland. The large birds are trained to come back to their handlers! (Treats may be involved).

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