Thousands of crows have descended on a small Pennsylvania college town, disrupting life for students and residents who have had to deal with relentless noise and bird droppings that sound "like raindrops falling," CBS Pittsburgh reports.
Residents of California, Pa., a town 35 miles south of Pittsburgh, which is home to the California University of Pennsylvania, said the birds start arriving at dusk and hang out overnight, leaving a huge mess on the tops of houses, cars and everything in between.
"At 7 in the morning, it's louder than my alarm," resident Jess Priest told Channel 11 News.
"It's really bad. It keeps us up at night. They go to the bathroom everywhere. Our cars get destroyed," another resident, Jen Sasko, told the station.
Bree Robinson, a student at California University of Pennsylvania, told reporters that residents have been trying different tactics to scare off the birds, but nothing seems to work.
"One day I was so mad I said I was going to build a scarecrow. I didn't know if they actually worked. I put it in the tree and it didn't," Robinson told CBS Pittsburgh.
As for the California University of Pennsylvania, staff members have tried setting up laser lights and diffusing a plant-based "fog" to keep them off campus property, according to the Associated Press. Unfortunately, the birds have responded by moving to other areas of the town.
Experts have offered a variety of opinions on why birds invade towns.
Earlier this year, residents of La Grange, Kan., were puzzled when thousands of black birds settled into the town at night and took off in the morning in large hordes, Wave3.com reported.
When residents contacted city officials to find out why the birds were invading, they were directed to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which distributed canons to scare them off.
But experts interviewed by CNN about the La Grange invasion told reporters that among starlings and other birds, the behavior is not that uncommon and is called "murmuration."
The phenomenon of mass bird deaths may be even more puzzling. Earlier this year, hundreds of dead birds in Arkansas and Norway fell from the sky, possibly due to fireworks or a depletion of food, though neither of the two theories have been confirmed.