Virginia

Huge Flock of Crows Making Its Mark in Arlington

What to Know

  • A group of crows has hovered over the Village at Shirlington in Arlington, Virginia, every night since October and made its mark.
  • The birds fly over the neighborhood during the day but seek shelter in trees, lampposts and parking garages once the sun goes down.
  • Since they arrived, the crows have left droppings on sidewalks and street signs.

A huge flock of crows is making its mark on Arlington. 

The crows have gathered near the Village at Shirlington every night since October, frustrated residents said.

Northern Virginia resident Paul Long typically refrains from washing his blue Chevrolet Camaro during the winter, but he didn’t have a choice about a month ago. 

“I was just out about 7 o’clock at night, and I just heard ‘tap, tap, tap tap,’” Long said. “I didn’t know what it was. I go out [of] the car, and my car is covered in bird poop.”

The birds fly over the neighborhood during the day but seek shelter in trees, lampposts and parking garages once the sun goes down, residents said. Wildlife officials believe the crows will remain in the area until the spring.

Some residents want county officials to take action.

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Since they arrived, the crows have left droppings on sidewalks and street signs. One resident said she is sure to wipe her feet before entering her home.

Another resident, Sharon Nailen, said the birds create a disturbance while she walks her dogs.

"When we walk dogs at night, the birds are up in the trees making their noises, and you hear them making their noises on the sidewalk," she said. 

An Arlington County official said there isn’t much the county can do because crows are a protected species.

Charles Studholme, who owns a bird pro shop in Arlington, advised locals not to engage the birds, because they are known to be intelligent.

“You see them in large flocks and people are afraid of that,” Studholme said. “If you do something bad to a crow and other crows see it, they will do something to you.”

Residents said they are considering the flock’s presence before completing basic tasks. Long, for instance, found a new place to park.

“I didn’t find the culprit,” Long said. “I could’ve climbed the tree, but it was cold that night.”

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