U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

January 2007


Published in Proceedings of the 12th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (D.L. Nolte, W.M. Arjo, D.H. Stalman, Eds). 2007.


Nonlethal alternatives are needed to manage emerging and sustained conflicts between humans and several wild birds. We evaluated the ChromaFlair® “Crow Buster,” a device developed in Japan to repel Asian crows from garbage cans, fruit trees, and utility structures. The Crow Buster consists of a strip (1.5-3.5 cm wide) of stiff, shiny plastic cut into a spiral shape. The device is iridescent green-purple in color. We conducted 2 studies to determine the influence of the Crow Buster on the foraging distribution of red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) in captivity. For both bird species, we conducted a study in 6 flight pens (35 blackbirds or 5 crows in each 0.07 ha pen) during 3 weeks, including a pretreatment (Crow Buster absent), test (Crow Buster present), and posttest period (Crow Buster absent). We measured daily food consumption in each of 12 bowls (per pen) placed 5 m, 10 m, or 15 m from a vertical post used to suspend the Crow Buster. We observed no difference in the foraging distribution of blackbirds associated with or without the Crow Buster bird repellent. The ChromaFlair Crow Buster repelled captive American crows only during the first day of the test, and only up to 10 m from the suspended device. The ineffectiveness of the Crow Buster for repelling red-winged blackbirds and American crows is also likely under field conditions, where most applications would require efficacy for at least several days and at distances greater than 10 m.