Most experienced grey nomads have learn the hard way that it pays to have a glance upwards before you settle down at a new campsite, or set up the campchair somewhere for a picnic.
Of course, there’s precarious looking tree branches to look out for, as well as food-snatching seagulls, swooping magpies, and pooping flying foxes.
Now, it seems, travellers can add Pied cormorants to the red alert list.
The native black and white seabirds, also known as shags, are causing chaos at Stansbury on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula with their excessive excretions.
After spending their days fishing at sea, the cormorants are returning to roost in the Norfolk pine trees that line the foreshore opposite the local pub.
The manager of the Stansbury Holiday Motel, Tracy Millard, has even put up a sign showing a car covered in bird poo warning people not to park under the pine trees.
“People were getting so annoyed that they were walking out to cars covered in shit,” she said. “There are hundreds of them, if not thousands.”
Besides cars, the roofs and footpaths of businesses also get covered in shag art.
Publican Rob Rankine says his pub’s windows sometimes had to be washed as many as four times a week.
“When there’s a sea breeze the poo flies all over our pub and it’s like our pub has been painted in shag poo,” he told the ABC. “On occasion customers, when they’ve been exiting the hotel, have been hit with the flying poo.”
The Department of Environment and Water recently allowed the Yorke Peninsula Council to apply for multiple permits to reduce the high numbers of cormorants.
Previously the council was granted a single permit that allowed them to cull between 50 to 100 birds a year.
But the council’s senior compliance officer Phil Herrmann told the ABC that that was just a ‘bandaid solution’.
He said officers would shoot the birds and try to scare them off over three or four days, but they always returned within a week.
Birdlife Australia national public affairs manager Sean Dooley said he understood the damage cormorants caused, but culling them had to be a last resort.
“I imagine the smell could be very overpowering,” he told the ABC. “You need to think a bit more creatively before we resort to the gun.”
Mr Dooley suggested one option would be to build an alternative roosting spot away from people.