Alliance shooing off turkey vultures

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Residents of Alliance may hear gunshots around sunset tonight...and for several days...but it's nothing to be worried about.

City officials say police officers will be firing blank rounds from shotguns nears the city water tower at 12th and Toluca to try to scare away the large numbers of Turkey Vultures that are roosting on the tower overnight.

The birds, also known as Turkey Buzzards, are relatively large...adults weight 1-1/2 to 5 pounds and have up to a 6-foot wingspan...and roost in community group as big as several hundred.

While their natural roosts are dead, leafless trees, the vultures will also roost on man-made structures such as microwave or water towers...which they can damage or pollute with their droppings.

Turkey Vultures are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, so cities where their numbers are causing problems can't kill or harm them, leading to tactics such as Alliance is doing with harmless noisemakers going off to try to scare the birds away as they begin to land for the night.

The Alliance officers will begin their sundown barrage tonight and officials say the practice could last several days until, hopefully, the vultures find another roosting spot.

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