Photo: Green Field
national

City hires a hawk to chase occupying army of crows away from city hall

18 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

The Japanese language doesn’t really differentiate between crows and ravens, commonly calling both karasu, and if you’ve spent much time in Japan, it’s easy to see why. Japanese crows are much larger than their American counterparts, with gigantic beaks and sharp talons.

They’re also incredibly intelligent and social creatures, and once they find a place they like to hang out, it’s not long before all the other crows in the area start gathering there too. Recently, a large group of crows has been regularly occupying the roof of city hall in Matsuyama, the capital of Ehime Prefecture on Japan’s island of Shikoku, and the local government has decided to fight fire with fire, or at least birds with another stronger, tougher bird.

That’s Haris’s hawk Sui taking to the sky in the above video, following direction from his human handler, Yutaka Yasui. The pair is currently under contract from the Matsuyama municipal government as part of a sanitation project that seeks to drive off the crows through non-lethal means. Originally, the city tried shining bright lights at the section of the building the crows congregate at, and it also experimented with playing recordings of a hawk’s cry, but eventually decided that an actual hawk would be more effective and contacted Yasui.

▼ Another video of the duo at work

On two separate days, the team patrolled the city hall rooftop, with Yasui repeatedly sending Sui to fly in and take over sections of the crows’ territory. According to the 47-year-old takajo (as hawk handlers are called in Japanese), crows will initially band together and try to scare off feathered intruders, and they can be seen loudly protesting Sui’s arrival in the top video. But if the newcomer stands his ground, like Sui does, eventually crows will concede the area to the stronger species.

Yasui can also be seen taking advantage of crows’ advanced learning capability and memory retention by having Sui catch and clamp down on a crow-shaped training lure. This is to show the crows that there’s a powerful potential predator present, with the aim that they’ll spread the word throughout their colony and collectively decide to relocate.

The hawk dispatch project is part of Matsuyama’s ongoing sanitation and beautification initiative, and hopes to reduce the amount of garbage left strewn on the streets when crows spot and tear into trash bags before they’re picked up by waste disposal teams. Yasui and Sui have now completed two days of work at Matsuyama City hall, with four more duty days scheduled in the coming months.

Yasui has now been working in his unique field for seven years, and actually got started in hawk-handling because of his last job. Previously, he was the superintendent of a condominium building that was having trouble with the local pigeon population, and in his search for a solution he came across Green Field, an Osaka-based hawk-handling company. He was so impressed at the job they did driving away pigeons that he decided to join the team himself, where he eventually partnered up with Sui, who he describes as “A very friendly guy.”

If you’re interested in having an avian security deployment at your home or business, Green Field’s official website can be found here.

Sources: Tele Asa News, Matsuyama City, MSN News Japan/Ehime Shimbun, Green Field

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Tokyo crow who tried to buy a train ticket gets illegally captured

-- Why, hello there, crow! How may I be of service?

-- Osaka resident follows Twitter suggestion and befriends neighborhood crows with shocking result

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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I know a lot of people have switched to yellow nets because supposedly crows are blind to the color yellow. However, crows are wise to the trick and we just use bricks to weigh down the net. It seems like a battle every Tuesday and Friday for people in my neighborhood.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Salary Hawk

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Peregrine falcons. A city's best friend.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Crows are very intelligent. My office has a large ledge outside the window, and years ago, a crow noticed me eating and alighted there for a closer look. I put out some food, and she (researched crows - females are bigger) began to come every day. Later, she was accompanied by a smaller crow, which I assume was her son, and then she disappeared, but he continues coming. Fascinating animals despite their nuisance.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Congratulations to the wonderful teamwork of Yasui and Sui! However, Japanese councils need to consider a longer term solution. I notice that crows appear to do well in Tokyo and other big cities in Japan. I believe that if they could not rip open the garbage bags to find foods, they would not plague these cities in this epic proportion.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Crows are very intelligent. I've caught them more than once, trying to unzip my backpack at the beach.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yeah, this won't backfire. Introducing a new animal into the mix Always works well. The hawk will probably just perch on the City Hall, looking for mice. The crows will say hi and keep doing their business. Crows are smart. If they DO get chased off, they'll just take turns in different positions as they come back.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Crows are the in the top 10 intelligent animals. There is a very good documentary on YouTube. I have a family of crows on the left of my house and a family of Tobi on my right. They kind of fight a little, but seem to have decided to respect the right side or left side of my house. I’m very happy about this. Never seen a mouse or snake inside my house. Also I hate pigeons. Never seen one around here.

once a week the crows that live here go to a park near the train station. They have a big meeting then go home.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Just cull the flipping pests.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

perennial problem...... just get your act together with the garbage. nets???? give me a break!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Crows are very intelligent. I've caught them more than once, trying to unzip my backpack at the beach.

they also leave nuts on the road for vehicles tire to crack open for them

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The easiest solution, and possibly a very controversial one would be to shoot them with a shot gun, but Japan has a strong buddhist community and this might not go down too well with people. IF these birds are not a problem, why chase them off? if there is a problem what is it? is it just the noise, or is it they deficate every where and there has been complaints?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The Japanese language doesn’t really differentiate between crows and ravens

Is that because there aren't any ravens in Japan? I think these big urban crows are jungle crows. Smaller carrion crows are generally found in more rural areas.

once a week the crows that live here go to a park near the train station. They have a big meeting then go home.

What is it with these weekly meetings? Where I live, hundreds of crows fly in on a Friday evening to the woods behind my house, and then leave the following morning. I'm not sure whether they're having a wild party or voting on whether to allow in foreign birds.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Here in Toyama all the crows come into the city centre just before sunset and sleep on the tops of buildings. Thousands of them. We call it ‘Karasu no jikan.’ Come morning they all fly back off to different areas for the day

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This won't go well in the long run. One falcon against a group of the most intelligent birds in the world.

I look forward to the crow's next move.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This won't go well in the long run. One falcon against a group of the most intelligent birds in the world.

I look forward to the crow's next move.

It's not like they are going to create disguises or start using firearms.

The falcon is faster and designed to chase and kill birds. If the crows really are intelligent, they'll bugger off.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This won't go well in the long run. One falcon against a group of the most intelligent birds in the world.

I also noticed that Sui seemed to be intimidated at times by the massive numbers of the crows and their loud noises. Yasui might quit the project to protect Sui from developing depressive illness.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd like to see a film titled Crows a la Hitchcock's.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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