SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- Thousands of crows swoop into the small eastern Washington town of Sunnyside every night. They have for years, and the town of Sunnyside is putting up a fight.
You can't crow proof a town, but Sunnyside is trying. Merchants have deployed fake owls on rooftops and trees around the buildings. One bank plays a recording of screeching hawks. Home and business owners have even cut down tall trees where crows like to roost for the night. But still the crows come by thousands every night.
The crows are apparently attracted to the area because they can share feed with the thousands of cows in several dairy farms outside of Sunnyside. Then they pour into the town and coat it in droppings. Police call it a health and safety issue. If they try to power wash the streets this time of year, the water freezes, creating another hazard.
In the past, police would get together and use ammo, donated by area businesses, to shoot and kill the crows. But now they're trying non-lethal whiz-bangs and other noise makers to scare the birds away.
Every night officers fire off dozens of loud fireworks into the downtown sky to make it a miserable place for crows to sleep. They warn the public before they open fire and rarely get any complaints. Residents we spoke to fully support the action. They are tired of finding their homes, yards, cars, even themselves covered in droppings.
The plan is to push the birds away from downtown in hopes they seek some peace and quiet in another area of town. Crow experts said this technique will work but it takes persistence.