The Birds! - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

The Birds!

Lawton_If you've ever seen Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 film "The Birds", you know how terrifying they can be.   They're not attacking people in Lawton, but at least one neighborhood is finding them incredibly annoying.

Thousands flock NW 17th Street every night, leaving thousands of droppings when they fly off in the morning--messy little reminders they were there.

Neighbors don't know why they come or how to get rid of them, but one thing is certain--they need to go.

One of the residents called 7-News about the problem so we went over to the neighborhood to take a gander.

They come in at dusk.  Thousands of grackles, small black birds with purple head and yellow eyes.

Despite their size, with the number in their flocks, you're guaranteed to have a mess.

Larry Ralph washes his driveway every morning.  But by afternoon, the grey cement is covered in white spots.

And those white spots cover the garden in which he's toiled for nearly two decades.

"Bird manure is so hot in ammonia and everything that it kills the plants.  I have quit watering them because there's no sense watering them if they're going to be killed with bird manure."

But his garden isn't his primary concern.  He's worried about the health of several dozen kids who walk past his house on their way to school every day.

He already made a stone sidewalk at the edge of his yard so the kids won't have to walk in puddles when it rains, but he doesn't know how to keep kids out of puddles of bird droppings.

"Birds carry a lot of disease.  They carry lice, some of them carry West Nile Virus, you know they have that.  We find a lot of dead birds out here, too.  We just pitch ‘em out of the yard."

There were two dead birds lying in the street on Ralph's block, run over by passing cars.

Ralph says he's called the health department and they told him they used to have an air cannon to scare off birds, but it's not available anymore.

"I called the police department and asked them about using 12-gauge blanks, to shoot up in the trees and that would chase them off, but they said that was against the law."

He temporarily chases them off by banging on a bucket.  They fly off, but within a few minutes, they're back.

Ralph says he can't do that all night.

The Red List of Threatened Species, which classifies animals based on their risk of extinction, classifies this type of grackle as "least concern."

That's the lowest risk of endangerment, but Ralph says he's still not allowed to kill any of them.

The National Audubon Society says there are 73 million grackles in the world--all in North America.

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