FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s an area packed with shoppers, and businesses on North Beach Street and Western Center Boulevard certainly love to see their joint parking lot full.

But lately they’ve found a slew of pesky visitors they’d like to do without; one that’s making customers duck and cover as they hurry into stores to shop.

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“It was a little bit scary,” saidDione Guillory who lives in Fort Worth and shops at Kroger. “I was ducking and dodging.  They were flying low over my head.”

The birds, mostly grackles, have taken over power lines and cars. Their droppings cover most surfaces.

“It’s serious!  You can’t park near a tree they land on your cars and do their business,” said Robert Golden.

At the Blue Cherry Coffee Shop, business has taken a hit and the grackles are to blame, employees say.

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“From about five to 8 p.m. every night business is slower,” said Bethany Sanderson, who works at the coffee shop. “It’s because the birds are so overwhelming.”

Jeff Cattoor has dealt with the problem in other parts of the city. The bird abatement expert uses everything from a laser to a hungry hawk to deal with the problem.

“Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act these birds are protected,” Cattoor, who works for Blackjack Bird Abatement, said. “it’s not like you can come out and wholesale start taking them out.”

On Tuesday night, his hawk ended up with a dove instead of a grackle. Cattoor said it’s common for other birds to roost with the grackles.

He also says if you notice grackles moving in it’s because they are being forced out of other spots.

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In the meantime, businesses and shoppers say they are simply waiting for spring; that’s when the birds spread out to raise their families.