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Alice using pyrotechnics to shoo vultures from water tower

Alice using pyrotechnics to shoo vultures from water tower
Posted at 8:24 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 21:24:31-05

ALICE, Texas — It might sound like the Fourth of July in Alice this week, but the birds the city is trying to chase off are no bald eagles.

Dozens of vultures have come to roost on the city's water tower causing problems for people who live and work near it.

“Them defecating all over the place," said Maria de la Rosa, owner of Bella-Beast Nutrition across the street from the water tower. "I’ve had a couple on my car do that, and then I have to go wash my car real quick."

The sheer number of large birds can be a nuisance in itself.

"There have been times — say an animal gets hit down the road — they’re literally blocking on the street," de la Rosa said. "There are times when I have to stop, and I have to honk to get them off the street."

To get them off the water tower, the city is using pyrotechnics — a method approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

A small gun fires what amounts to a firecracker into the air near the birds, and theoretically, they fly away for good.

"It doesn’t hurt the birds," Alice Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Patrick Thomas said. "We’re not trying to hurt any of them. We just want to scare them away to roost somewhere else.”

It's a method he says worked on vultures at the water tower around four years ago, and he's hopeful it will work again this time.

“It’s a health hazard for the neighborhood," Thomas said. "So we want to mitigate that by using this pyrotechnic method.”

The city planned to shoot off the fireworks Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week.

After the first day, de la Rosa noticed a difference.

"It seemed to work a little bit yesterday," she said. "I’m hoping that, with them continuing, that it completely gets rid of them. If not, then the city does need to find a different alternative for it."