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Central Wash. town in pitched battle with marauding crows

Central Wash. town in pitched battle with marauding crows
SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- There's a nuisance in one Central Washington town, and it's getting worse.

City leaders say Sunnyside is infested with crows. They're trying new ways to get rid of them.

No, the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie wasn't filmed in Sunnyside. But, it might as well have been.

"We're talking thousands and thousands of crows," said Sunnyside lawyer Steve Winfree.

Which means a lot of droppings.

"I understand why citizens are irritated with this, because their cars are covered with it, their homes are covered with it. It's a health hazard," said Sunnyside code enforcement officer Jim Rivard.

One that's led Sunnyside's city manager to find new ways to rid the city of the crows - without killing them. Playing sounds of crow predators around town. Sunnyside will also buy flare pistols to scare them away.

This latest battle with the birds isn't Sunnyside's first. The problem has been growing in the last four years. The crows spend their days eating from farms and spend their nights in Sunnyside's tall trees.

It's why the post office cut down its trees, and why a downtown office complex removed 100-year-old sycamores.

"We decided we just had to take them down because we couldn't deal with the problem," said Winfree.

And, with thousands of crows in the sky, you're bound to get hit.

"It's been on my jacket."

"You can't avoid it."

Unless, it seems, you work at Funny Farm liquor store. Chris Trammell has yet to get bombed.

"Fortunately not. And, I don't know how, because the parking lot looks like a war zone."

A war Sunnyside's City Manager hopes to win - and maybe even crow about.

Sunnyside contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture for abatement ideas. In the past, Sunnyside police officers killed the birds with shotguns. The city did away with that, concerned about violating federal rules.
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