Crafty Ohio Crows are Wise to the Propane Cannon

A victim of the crow infestation in Coshocton, Ohio, nicknamed "Crow Town." (image:

A massive flock of crows has taken up residence in the town of Coshocton, Ohio. And this is causing problems for everything underneath the birds. The crows have tagged sidewalks and cars, and rendered at least one park bench dangerously unsanitary (see above). Employees at a nearby courthouse bring extra clothing to work, to change into after the bombing they receive on their dash into work.

“It sounds like rain falling,” a local maintenance guy told the local Chillicothe Gazette.

The captions reads: "How birds see the world." (image: "The Far Side")

How do you handle loitering birds? Some farmers and city fathers use propane cannons. The big noisemakers release a loud propane-powered thunderclap designed to scare away the feathery pests. The city of Portland, Ore., unholsters the cannons annually to shoo migrating starlings from a city bridge.

That’s been the approach in Ohio, but these crafty crows are wise to the propane cannon. The birds fly off at first sight of the thing, and then fly back later. The cannon needs to fire every 20 minutes to keep them at bay, according to estimates. “They never just leave and don’t come back,” says Garth Goodyear, a local wildlife officer.

Coshocton, which has been nicknamed “Crow Town,” has been left pondering other, more drastic actions: Fireworks? Chopping down all the trees? Repealing firearm ordinances to allow for a shootout?

“Driving them into an area where they won’t be such a nuisance and then leaving them alone might be an answer,” Goodyear said.

Here’s a glimpse of a homemade propane cannon in action. “Fire in the hole.”

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