An historic street in Cleburne is has a flock of new, unwelcome neighbors.
Vultures are swarming a street every single night, and now the city's animal services department is launching a new effort to scare them off.
The new bird harassment effort uses pyrotechnics to frighten the vultures, and officials hope that with repeated deployment, they'll move on to another perch, preferably outside of the city.
"We'll be back until they stop landing," explained Mindy Henry, the animal services manager for the City of Cleburne.
The vultures mainly stick to the trees in front of one of the oldest homes in Cleburne, with dozens there Monday afternoon and more swooping in continuously. They also perch on the roof of a Victorian home next door, and they have left their mark. White droppings are visible all over the sidewalks and streets, and there's an odor lingering.
"That tree has become an epicenter for these dang birds," said neighbor Jeff Lay.
Lay said the problem really picked up about a month ago, and he said you can reliably expect the vultures to swoop in at the same time at the end of the day. He estimated that at least 200 have made their homes in the area.
"I don't like it. This is not a scary street!" Lay said with a laugh.
As the sun went down and more birds came in for a landing, Henry loaded up her pyrotechnic gun. It looks like a regular handgun, but it uses caps that launch flashbangs and flares. The technique is designed to be nonlethal and is intended to modify their behavior.
When Henry approached the tree, the birds barely even noticed. But as soon as she fired, they all launched into the air. A few tried circling back, but she was ready with another blast.
"That did it," she said. "Hopefully they get the picture."