Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.
BARKLY Street businesses are being traumatised by a murder of crows causing significant destruction to cars, windows and signage.
Business after business on the street’s south side has been forced to vacate their laneway parking to spare their vehicles from significant damage, leaving them with little option but to park in the main street.
Staff at Skinco Beauty, Sede Café, Nutrien Harcourts Ararat, GJ Gardner Homes, Ararat Ballarat Real Estate and One Office National have all been victims of the bird’s menacing acts.
Nutrien Harcourts Ararat office manager, Kim Kerr, said the sudden vandalism seems to be an act of retaliation.
She said a collection of rubbish bins were replaced in the laneway between Barkly and Banksia Street to stop the crows from getting into the rubbish and littering the area which seems to have upset them.
“[Council] came and put the bins away and the crows retaliated. That's all I can say,” Mrs Kerr said.
“They started pecking our cars… we went out the back one day and there were scratches so severe that I had to get it cut and polished and then some.
“They had eaten all the rubber around the number plates, the tops of the cars were scratched, and all the windshield wipers were gone.”
Ararat Ballarat Real Estate sales consultant, Ross Matthews, was also in need of a trip to the panel beaters last month.
“Ross had to get his vehicle professionally detailed, including a cut and polish and a possible re-spray, because there were six crows sitting on his car pecking at their shadows,” colleague Brad Jensen said.
Mr Jensen suggested the possibility of an attack orchestrated by the Adelaide Crows Football Club.
Skinco Beauty clinic coordinator, Brittany Young, was optimistic and returned to her usual parking spot behind Skinco after scratches were repaired.
“I was a bit game and I thought, I'll be right, I'll just keep it out there because they won't go at it again. And then I went out one day, and they'd taken my windscreen wipers,” she said.
One Office National newsagency’s Vicki Wigg was also left frustrated when her car required a $450 repair.
“Mine was bad, really bad. Scratches all down the sides, all over the mirrors, right down the bonnet,” she said.
Business owners believe the terror has subsided since its peak in May, but many are yet to return their cars to the laneway.
Kim Kerr has continued to research ways to deter the birds.
“I have googled what to do and you can actually get a crow, and boil it, and then spray the water on your car to deter them… but how am I going to get a crow for a start,” she said with a smirk.
“They've ran out at Safeway,” husband and agent Greg Kerr added.
“Any suggestions would be gratefully received; we just don't know what to do.”