Defying the Propane Cannon, Ohio Crows Face Fireworks

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The wily crows of Coshocton, Ohio, have outsmarted the propane cannons that were designed to scare them away. So last week, the town — nicknamed “Crowtown” because of the local plague — approved the use of pyrotechnics within city limits to handle the messy issue of too many birds nesting around town.

The background: An estimated 5,000 birds have taken up residence next to a courthouse in this little Ohio hamlet, making plenty of trouble with their droppings. The birds bomb everything below, from park benches to employees running to work. One man spoke of bringing extra shirts to work, to change into after he arrived. “It sounds like falling rain,” another worker said.

When confronted with pesky birds that have overstayed their visit, some municipalities turn to the propane cannon. The noisemakers put out a loud, propane-powered thunderclap to scare off any nuisance birds. And that is what Coshocton tried to do.

But the crows appear to have figured out the propane cannon. At first boom, they flew away, but would return to their roost within 20 minutes or so. And the crows have become even less responsive now that they figured out that the cannon’s thunderclap could not harm them, reports the local Coshocton Tribune.

Now the town has spent $572 on pyrotechnic shells to shoo them away, which they’ll shoot off during the evening nesting hours. Though if a propane cannon didn’t do the job, will a bottle rocket fare much better? Crows are at the top of the avian IQ list.

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