Why are thousands of crows moving into Syracuse every night?

Crows flying in Syracuse

Like a fast moving cloud, the skies over downtown Syracuse and the east side are filled with thousands of crows as the sun sets.

"Fascinating but a little frightening at the same time," said Terri Cook. Her car had been hit multiple times by crow droppings while parked in Syracuse.

The crows have a reverse commute. They fly out into the suburbs when the sun is up before returning to the same roosts every night.

"What they're doing during the day is flying out into cornfields. That's why if you watch, they're coming from 360 degrees. You've got cornfields 360 degrees," said SUNY Environmental Science Professor Guy Baldassarre.

Many experts believe the crows like the slightly warmer temperatures of cities compared to the fields. Auburn and Watertown are known for crows flocks in the winter. Both of those cites have brought in crews to harass the birds with lasers, noisemakers and sirens and it's likely that many of those crows simply relocated to Syracuse.

"You reliably get into auburn and harass them and you harass them and harass them," said Baldassarre. "They're going to go somewhere. If they go to another place that meets their needs and nobody is bothering them - they're going to stay there."

Terri Wood tried to stay away from the army of crows when she came into the city for a show at Syracuse Stage but like many people, she could not avoid what they left behind.

"It was a little intimidating. I kept thinking about Alfred Hitchcock and the birds - and all these birds watching us would move in a swarm from one tree to another tree across the way," said Wood.