Town is abuzz about water tower buzzards

It appears as if a sequel to Hitchcock’s The Birds is shooting on location atop the Gladewater, Texas water supply! Of course, buzzards and vultures have been spooking mankind for eons; from Disney cartoons to classic literature, they frequently portend dying and death. So naturally, city leaders are worried that, “if the birds remain on the tower, their droppings will ruin the paint, which would cost about $80,000 to reapply.”

From the Friday, February 20, 2009,

City Manager Jay Stokes discussed buzzards — the ones roosting on the water tower — Thursday with the City Council. Stokes said he has had numerous complaints from residents about the birds and has counted up to 80 of them on the tower at one time.

The city had a problem with the buzzards several years ago and eliminated them by applying for a permit and shooting them, Stokes said. If the birds remain on the tower, their droppings will ruin the paint, which would cost about $80,000 to reapply, he said. It’s also possible the birds could damage telecommunications equipment on the tower, Stokes added.

“I’m open to any and all suggestions from council members or others in the community about how to deal with this,” Stokes said. “The main thing to emphasize is that we don’t want to spend money on a temporary solution. We need to find something that will keep them away.

Stokes asked the council if anything was off limits as far as considering ways to deal with the problem. Councilman Scott E. Owens said Stokes should investigate all possibilities and take whatever action is necessary to eliminate the birds or get them to relocate.

“While I will try to find some sort of other solution first, we may have to be open to the option of seeking a permit to destroy the buzzards,” Stokes said. “I don’t know that there’s any way to persuade them to roost at another location.”

Anti-cultural-ignorance footnote: In many non-Western cultures, buzzards are traditionally a good omen, foretelling happy times ahead with health, luck, or wealth.