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Black skies, white sidewalks: The state of Auburn’s crows

It’s become an Auburn cliché to say, but every winter evening, the city’s skyline looks like Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

Indeed, that’s when thousands upon thousands of crows saturate Auburn’s treetops and soar over its streets in numbers rarely seen outside the classic horror movie.

But the similarities end there. To be sure, Auburn’s birds don’t kill people. And, ominous as it may appear, the city’s avian presence isn’t shrouded in mystery like the movie’s. Experts can explain why all those crows are drawn to Auburn. And, after being trained by those experts, the city’s Department of Public Works can more or less control where the birds descend.

Despite those control efforts, which began 14 years ago, crows remain a fact of life in Auburn — especially for Mike Talbot. The city’s DPW superintendent since 2011, and an employee of the department since 2000, Talbot has seen almost the entirety of Auburn’s crow saga. Like clockwork, he said, they arrive alongside winter in late November and all but disappear by March 1.

“I bet someday they’ll just stop coming here for whatever reason,” he said. “Just like they started coming here.”

The Citizen:
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