Did you know that in New York State (outside of New York City) it is legal to kill crows? While most other birds are protected under state laws, crows are not. Crows are highly intelligent, social creatures that live in multi-generational family units, according to birder and blogger Matthew Wills, he writes:
"[In] all of upstate and the rest of Long Island, you can actually murder crows from Friday to Monday, September to March, sunrise to sunset, with no bag limit; non-toxic shot and migratory bird stamp aren't even required. Toxic shot can be carried by wounded birds to other animals who prey on the shot birds, spreading the poison. I had no idea this went on, particularly after West Nile fever did such serious damage to the American Crow population, and still remains a threat. There were several years in the Oughts when I saw no crows at all in Brooklyn."
This weekend in Palenville, New York, a "Crow Down" will take place -- it is the fourth annual crow hunting contest over a two day period. According to Wills:
"The Rip Van Winkle Rod & Gun Club of Palenville, in Greene Co., hosts this particular crow slaughter -- calling it a "hunt" or a "sport" would be a disservice to those words. It's a contest to see who can kill the most birds, plain and sick. It smacks of a hold-over from the 19th century, when crows were persecuted as pests. Neither colorful nor cute, crows have never had a good reputation among those who aren't familiar with them."
There is currently a law being proposed by New York State Senator Tony Avella that would ban these crow killing contests along with other contests that target coyotes, squirrels, and other wildlife.
Senator Avella said, "The lack of oversight of these hunting contests, which oftentimes become animal slaughter contests, is incredible. Living in a State which recognizes the dangers of gun use, we should re-evaluate our approach to promoting countless wildlife killing as means of family entertainment."
For more on how intelligent crows are watch this video: