Buzzards descend on Gladewater

By Courtney Lane

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas town is all "abuzz," literally with hundreds of buzzards, technically called vultures. They're roosting on Gladewater's water tower, causing lots of mess, disturbance to neighbors, plus they can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to the tower itself. As KLTV 7's Courtney Lane explains, city officials need your help finding a permanent solution.

Look into the sky late afternoon in Gladewater and you may think you stepped into a Hitchcock horror flick.

"It's just eerie," said neighbor John Paul Tallent.  "A walk outside and you see all these buzzards and of course you know what they are and it's just an eerie feeling."

"It's a little intimidating to drive by and look up and you think of Alfred Hitchcock," said city manager Jay Stokes.  "There's dozens of these huge birds with their wings out."

Stokes has counted more than 100. While cool to watch, they can do some costly damage.

"To paint the water tower from the top to bottom would be $80,000 dollars," said Stokes.

Not to mention the disturbance to neighbors, including Croley funeral home, and of course the mess. Tallent lives next door and has to wash off his driveway every morning.

"It's kind of funny but it's not if you live this close. It's not funny because of the mess. If it wasn't for the mess it wouldn't be so bad."

"We've got Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures."

Keith Kridler studies birds. He says they probably won't leave until nesting season.

"Probably May or June. It'll be awhile but they do scatter."

So how do you tell buzzards to buzz off? Suggestions keep flying in to city hall, like using sound devices, owl decoys, even spikes. Shooting them is the most popular idea, but Stokes says that's too much of a risk and hassle.

"You have to get a permit from the federal government... and at the same time shooting has consequences. You can hit things you don't want to hit."

That includes telecommunication equipment.

If you know of something that may help, you can email your suggestions at