Kilgore launches Operation Buzzard to deter vultures

bout a hundred black vultures seem to have decided an oil derrick at the Kilgore Police Department is home. And the vultures are causing damage, so the city has
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 10:28 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2022 at 8:41 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - They’re back ... or actually they never really left: the vultures of Kilgore.

About a hundred black vultures seem to have decided an oil derrick at the Kilgore Police Department is home. And the vultures are causing damage, so the city has begun taking measures to encourage them to relocate.

Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck, Kilgore Animal Control Tom Sawyer, and Kilgore Fire Marshal Ryan Riley are looking at an ongoing problem: Black vultures on a derrick.

“We are on day two of our attempts to deter the vulture population that’s been roosting in our derrick here,” Selleck said.

The birds are protected so the city thought they’d try making them uncomfortable enough to leave and they:

“Bought a vulture effigy. It looks like a dead vulture. You hang it upside down and it’s supposed to scare them off,” Selleck said.

Selleck says the birds are damaging the metal derrick.

“We’ve noticed over the last two years the corrosion of the tower, which is made out of steel, galvanized steel, has really increased substantially as a result of their waste products,” Selleck said.

Officials believe that since Kilgore has many derricks and:

“None of the rest have aged that quickly,” Selleck said.

So, they took a cue from the hog effigies hanging from a Longview cell tower which is pretty much devoid of vultures. The vultures first made our newscast in February of 2019.

“They were supposed to be transitory or migratory, but they pretty well stayed,” Selleck said.

So, enter the effigy, and a day earlier it went to work.

“Yesterday we think we had it in the wrong spot and it really just moved them higher or lower. And so today we relocated it,” Selleck said.

Today it was moved closer to the top and:

“Unfortunately, we already see a vulture back in its home,” Selleck said.

And more returned from the derrick across the street. The effigy didn’t chase them far. The dropping of well, droppings, and feathers will continue.

“We were just reminded that it is apparently illegal to collect the feathers of migratory game birds, though we have seen archers and fly fishermen out here doing that,” Selleck said.

“If I remember right the fines for possessing parts can be up to ten thousand dollars,” Sawyer said.

That’s an expensive arrow or lure. Might want to fly away from that one. And suddenly that’s what the vultures that returned to the derrick did. But I suspect it more to do with lunch than a fallen fake friend.

Selleck says since the effigy wasn’t successful, they will move on to phase two. That involves placing shiny moving objects on the derrick. He says they’ll use mylar balloons and reflective pinwheels which may make the birds vacate. No word on what phase three could be.