It's not an Alfred Hitchcock movie from “The Birds,” but vultures are taking over and roosting on the water tower on the intersection of Hill and Almond streets.
This is the second round of attempting to solve the bird dilemma by using pyrotechnics - scare cartridges from a 12-gauge shotgun. The first round was during the week of May 15.
“You could see droppings on the roadway, homes, vehicles and the park area,” said Demetrio Duarte, assistant public works director of utilities for the City of Alice.
After evaluating the problem, Duarte researched and called other cities to look for a solution. Some cities with the same problem were using pyrotechnics to get rid of the vultures. Before getting started, city crew went door-to-door to notify residents in the area about the pyrotechnics, communicated with police and had a PSA on the public access channel 5.
“They go 500 feet before they make a noise or before they pop,” said Luis Bazan, a biologist with United States Department of Agriculture.
Bazan has been helping Duarte get rid of the vultures, without hurting the large-wing span birds called black vultures or turkey vultures.
The city partnered with USDA at no cost to the taxpayers.
“We are not here to kill them, we are here to scare them,” Duarte said. “We've had up to 100 birds at one time.”
The project is more of a waiting game as they park near the water tower just before sunset when the vultures are about to settle for the evening.
On Wednesday, no vultures were spotted.
“It's a good thing,” Duarte said.
Duarte said the vultures are not much of a problem on the other towers, but seem to favor the 150-foot tower on Hill Street.
“It's a safe place to spend the night,” Bazan said.
The city will continue vulture control for another four weeks.
“But it just takes one, the word gets out and you have more and more,” Duarte said. “It's just a nuisance and it looks bad.”