A Southeast Nebraska town is allowing a U.S. Department of Agriculture expert to shoo away turkey vultures with the use of a laser.
Citizens of Beatrice have complained about the federally-protected species perching on a downtown cellphone tower, owned by Verizon.
The problem was how to safely remove them. Council members expressed concerns of public liability and safety when using a projectile-firing weapon. The other issue was a city ordinance ban on discharging weapons within city limits – with exceptions.
A laser is not considered in that ordinance.
“I sympathize with this problem,” Police Chief Bruce Lang says. “Birds (cause) significant damage to our vehicles in the police department parking lot… we have tried everything under the sun to get rid of them.”
However, Chief Lang adds that he does not think it is a good idea and says it opens up a whole other issue.
“Not a week goes by that we don’t have a complaint about feral cats,” He says. “4th and Court there is a huge population of pigeons. I could see the landowners there wanting to eliminate that problem.”
Councilman Jason Moore gave his approval to the method.
“This is what he does, Let’s let him do it.” Moore says.
John Dageforde with Windstream, the company hiring the USDA expert, says a gun is used to beam a light laser into the eyes of the birds to scare them away. The method is non-lethal and uses no projectile, thus removing any fears of public safety from projectiles.
Dageforde says the expert has successfully used the method in other campaigns.
(CREDIT: Doug Kennedy, KWBE Beatrice)