Leaders of an Upstate town said they have a bird problem and they’re taking matters into their own hands. “Quite a few hundred turkey vultures decide to call our water tower home,” Williamston Mayor Rockey Burgess said. Burgess said that’s been the case for “several” years. The tower isn’t an active water tower, but there is cause for concern. “We have radio read meters throughout the city now and we also have collector antennas up there,” he said. “So one of our biggest concerns is you’re talking about a 20-30 pound bird landing on top of those antennas (and causing) some problems breaking those expensive pieces of equipment. (The birds) play a vital role in our ecosystem. We want them here, but we just don’t want them right here.””It does look kind of creepy,” Ward 1 Town Councilman Tony Hagood said. Hagood works at the mortuary directly next to the water tower. “Unity Mortuary has always been the butt of the joke,” he said. “Have those guys been hiding bodies in the woods? No! We’re not,” he said. “(The birds) just simply roost in the highest point of wherever they are.”That’s where the bird cannon comes into play. Burgess said it’s on loan from Abbeville. “To the average person it probably looks like something off Toy Story,” Burgess said, smiling. “In my opinion, it actually sounds like a shotgun,” Hagood said. The small cannon is solar-powered and uses propane to make a loud “bang” every 30 minutes.It’s only programmed to make the noise during the day. “We notified the residents around here and we are willing to work with their schedule, so if we have somebody who’s working third shift or something like that, we obviously don’t want to inconvenience them,” Burgess said. “We want to accommodate them.” Nothing shoots out of the cannon, so there is no harm to the birds, Burgess said. “It just makes the birds uncomfortable, where they hopefully will find another location,” he added.A WYFF News 4 crew saw town leaders use the cannon for the first time Wednesday morning. At the time, it scared away all remaining birds on the tower. “It will be used every day, seven days a week until we can get rid of this problem, which we hope is not going to be that long,” Hagood said. How long? Only time will tell. “The biggest question is, ‘Alright, well after we’ve had it here for a couple weeks and they’ve moved elsewhere, when we take that cannon out are they gonna come back?'”Councilman Hagood said he has a key to turn off the cannon when he needs to so that it won’t disrupt any services at the mortuary. If the cannon works during the next couple of weeks, town leaders could move to purchase one for longer-term use. There are other options on the table, Burgess said, if the cannon doesn’t work.

Leaders of an Upstate town said they have a bird problem and they’re taking matters into their own hands.

“Quite a few hundred turkey vultures decide to call our water tower home,” Williamston Mayor Rockey Burgess said.

Burgess said that’s been the case for “several” years.

The tower isn’t an active water tower, but there is cause for concern.

“We have radio read meters throughout the city now and we also have collector antennas up there,” he said.

“So one of our biggest concerns is you’re talking about a 20-30 pound bird landing on top of those antennas (and causing) some problems breaking those expensive pieces of equipment. (The birds) play a vital role in our ecosystem. We want them here, but we just don’t want them right here.”

“It does look kind of creepy,” Ward 1 Town Councilman Tony Hagood said.

Hagood works at the mortuary directly next to the water tower.

“Unity Mortuary has always been the butt of the joke,” he said. “Have those guys been hiding bodies in the woods? No! We’re not,” he said. “(The birds) just simply roost in the highest point of wherever they are.”

That’s where the bird cannon comes into play.

Burgess said it’s on loan from Abbeville.

“To the average person it probably looks like something off Toy Story,” Burgess said, smiling.

“In my opinion, it actually sounds like a shotgun,” Hagood said.

The small cannon is solar-powered and uses propane to make a loud “bang” every 30 minutes.

It’s only programmed to make the noise during the day.

“We notified the residents around here and we are willing to work with their schedule, so if we have somebody who’s working third shift or something like that, we obviously don’t want to inconvenience them,” Burgess said. “We want to accommodate them.”

Nothing shoots out of the cannon, so there is no harm to the birds, Burgess said.

“It just makes the birds uncomfortable, where they hopefully will find another location,” he added.

A WYFF News 4 crew saw town leaders use the cannon for the first time Wednesday morning. At the time, it scared away all remaining birds on the tower.

“It will be used every day, seven days a week until we can get rid of this problem, which we hope is not going to be that long,” Hagood said.

How long? Only time will tell.

“The biggest question is, ‘Alright, well after we’ve had it here for a couple weeks and they’ve moved elsewhere, when we take that cannon out are they gonna come back?'”

Councilman Hagood said he has a key to turn off the cannon when he needs to so that it won’t disrupt any services at the mortuary.

If the cannon works during the next couple of weeks, town leaders could move to purchase one for longer-term use.

There are other options on the table, Burgess said, if the cannon doesn’t work.

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