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updated: 12/29/2012 9:45 PM

ISU's pesky crows not scared by phony snakes, owls

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  • Crows fly on the Illinois State University Quad at dusk Thursday, in Normal, Ill. Thousands of crows have been roosting on the quad.

      Crows fly on the Illinois State University Quad at dusk Thursday, in Normal, Ill. Thousands of crows have been roosting on the quad.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

NORMAL, Ill. -- Illinois State University has tried just about everything, but has not been able to stop thousands of crows from roosting on the quad this winter.

West Nile Virus took a heavy toll on the birds in 2001. Since then, however, they've bounced back, causing a nuisance.

The university has tried to scare them off with plastic owls, rubber snakes and something called pyrotronics, which are similar to bottle rockets and produce a loud bang when launched into the trees where the birds roost.

That has had some effect, but The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports that more than 2,000 crows came to roost on the quad at dusk Thursday.

ISU biological sciences professor Angelo Capparella says before the pyrotronics were brought in "every single tree was just covered in crows."

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