Crows Do Not Enter | Outside My Window


Jungle crow in Japan (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

This article is inspired by the Mother Nature Network article, Wild Crows seem to obey Do Not Enter signs, and a report from the ICRC which is no longer online.

A few years ago, the International Coastal Research Center in Otsuhi, Japan figured out how to keep crows from pillaging the damaged ICRC building.  They found a crow expert who hung up “Crows, Do Not Enter” signs and the crows stayed away.  Here’s how it happened.

On 11 March 2011, the town of Otsuchi, Japan was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami with waves about 30 feet tall. This photo of the Kirikiri section shows the devastation three months later. 

Aerial view of tsunami damage in Kirikiri area of Otsuchi, Japan. 3 months later, 20 Jun 2011 (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The headquarters of the International Coastal Research Center, located at Otsuchi, was severed damaged as well. (See the three-story building in the photo below.)

Tsunami damage at Otsuchi, Japan, 4 days later 15 Mar 2011 (photo from U.S. Navy rescue operations via Wikimedia Commons)

The waves severely damaged the first two floors, shown here in two of the many photos at the ICRC website.  Click here to see more.

Tsunami damage to ICRC (images via ICRC Recovery website. Click this caption to see the originals in context)

However, by 2015 the local jungle crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) could not resist stealing the damaged materials inside the building.  During the nesting season they flew into the open building, ripped insulation off the pipes and carried it to their nests.  

To get rid of the crows the ICRC asked for help from environmental scientist and crow expert, Tsutomu Takeda.  Rather than using scarecrow tactics he hung large signs on the pipes, visible from outdoors, that said “Crows Do Not Enter.”  

Tsutomu Takeda hanging “Crows, Do Not Enter” signs at ICRC (photo from an ICRC article which is no longer online)

As soon as the signs went up the crows stayed away. This method was still working when Mother Nature Network published the news two years later.

Can the crows read the signs? No, but people can.  When people see the signs they look up to see if crows are in the building.  Crows hate it when people watch them stealing nesting material so they don’t do it anymore.

Crows hate it when we stare at them.  If these signs work on jungle crows in Japan, perhaps they’ll work on American crows, too. 

Maybe the crows will stay away from Pitt if they put “Crows Do Not Enter” signs in the trees.  😉

(photos from Wikimedia Commons, the ICRC Recovery Project website and an ICRC article no longer online. I encourage you to click on the captions to see the originals.)