The Birds that Collected Coins at a Car Wash-Truth!

The Birds that Collected Coins at a Car Wash-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

Pictures from a car wash in Frederick, Maryland where it turned out that the suspected thieves of thousands of dollars worth of quarters were actually local birds.

The Truth:

A bird website at says it was the first to publish this story and the pictures.

The “Bill” referred to in the story is Bill Daugherty president of Magic Carwash Systems in Bristol, Virginia, the company that makes them.  He confirms that the story is true although the location of the car wash was not in Frederick, Maryland, but in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and is owned by a man named Bob Ridings.
Some versions of the eRumor claim that the car wash lost $4,000 in coins, but Ridings says it wasn’t nearly that much.  He started showing up for work in the morning to find coins scattered on the ground.  He couldn’t figure out what was happening until he noticed pieces of grass and straw in the coin return slots and figured it had something to do with birds.  He finally used his camera to collect photographic evidence of the thieves.
The consensus of the bird experts seems to be that the birds in the pictures are European Starlings.
Updated 11/11/09