The municipality of Szatmárnémeti (Satu Mare), close to the Hungarian border, has been fighting the carrion crows living in the town of 100,000-inhabitants for years, but their efforts seem futile. The crows nest in most of the parks of the town, in smaller or bigger colonies; the biggest group lives in Kossuth Garden, which is the largest green zone of the town. About 660 nests can be found here, and people have been complaining because of the noise the birds make and the droppings falling from the trees.
In previous years, the town leadership (independently from their party affiliation) have tried various modes to chase away the crows. The birds were shot by hunters, alarm systems with predatory sounds were set up, their nests were taken down with water jets, and the trees were cut back in István Square so the crows could not nestle in them. But all these efforts were ineffective, and the intelligent birds have not left the town.
This year, the municipality tried out a new method in Kossuth Garden by using devices that produce noise, ultrasound, and lights. But all of these were shut down only after a couple of days because the Transylvanian Carpathian Association (“Erdélyi Kárpát-Egyesület” in Hungarian, abbreviated as “EKE”), the Milvus Group Bird and Nature Protection Association, the Romanian Bat Protection Association and the E-consult Association prosecuted the municipality at the Environmental Guard Service; the environmental authorities then banned the use of the “shouting devices” and forbid the municipality to disturb the birds or other wild animals in any way during their breeding, rearing and migration seasons.
The carrion crows, by the way, are not a protected species in Romania, but it is forbidden to disturb any wild animal, including crows, during their breeding season.
But another problem was that the noise devices not only disturbed the birds but also the people visiting the park.
“These loud noises are unbearable; we did not come here to listen to this.”
– said one outraged parent to transindex.ro. She had gone to the park’s playground with her child after the devices were installed.
“We prosecuted the municipality because the method they were using was not selective and disturbed all living creatures, not only the crows. And this is illegal,” explained the president of EKE’s Szatmár (Satu Mare) County organization, János Márk-Nagy, to transindex.ro. According to the ecologist, besides the crows, many other bird species live in the crow colonies as well, such as kestrels, jackdaws and long-eared owls. Even bats live in the tree holes, which are disturbed by the ultrasound device, and in Romania, all bat species are protected.
He also explained that if a bigger crow colony is disturbed and chased away, instead of leaving the area, the crows will settle down in numerous smaller colonies nearby in smaller green areas, for example, on trees between apartment buildings, where their presence can be even more disturbing for humans than in the parks.
“The crow colony in Kossuth Garden is only disturbing if somebody goes to the park for a short visit in his free time, but around the apartment buildings, people have to listen to them all day long,” said János Márk-Nagy. Because of this, he believes it would be more reasonable to leave the crow colony of Kossuth Garden in peace.
Title image: Town leaders of Szatmárnémeti tried to scare away the carrion crows from Kossuth Garden with new devices that produce noise, ultrasound and lights, but the devices were banned by environmental protection authorities after a few days.