LAKE ALFRED, Fla. - It asked nicely, but now the City of Lake Alfred says it's time to get tough on the dozens of vultures that have moved into town.
For the last couple months, workers have tried to shoo away the birds that found a new spot for nap time on the city's water tower. But the flock is not budging.
"Almost everyday, they're here," said Marlene Sanchez, who works in city hall.
When the sun starts to set, the vultures fly in and stay on the tower overnight. They've been around for years, but for some reason their gathering numbers have spiked in recent months in Lake Alfred.
"I guess I might say that I've gotten so used to the birds over there that they're just part of the neighborhood now," said Evelyn Vice, who lives nearby.
This sky-high hotel is one the city wants no part of, especially not directly over city hall.
Probably the only thing worse than seeing the creatures on a daily basis is making the mistake of parking right under them.
"We got a little too close to the tower and both our city vehicles were just covered," said Sanchez.
The city recently contacted the Department of Agriculture for help removing this protected species.
Because it's illegal to kill vultures, its suggestion was to hang a couple of fake dead birds. Vultures don't like resting next to a fallen buddy.
But apparently they get used to it.
"They said it might take a while but it's not working at all right now," Sanchez said.
After a day or two, the pack of vultures returned.
"I guess they're smarter than we give them credit for," said Shaun Cayson, Firefighter for Lake Alfred FD.
Now Public Works Director John Keaton is stepping up the eviction notice.
Along with the fake dead birds, the city plans to install some noise makers that will go off every half hour.
"That's our next step to try and harass them, to scare them so they don't want to land and stay," he said.
Keaton insists this is not a health issue -- the water supply is completely sealed and safe.
It's more about a messy eyesore the city would rather do without.
"It's ominous coming into town because they're creepy… they're vultures!" Sanchez said.
Keaton says the noise makers should be in place by early next week, and with any luck he says, the problem should be resolved by the end of the week.
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