A robust wake of extremely messy vultures is getting the drop(pings) on a U.S. Customs and Border Protection radio tower in Texas. Excrement from the 300 birds is so overwhelming that it’s interfering with the communication system, reports Quartz.
The entire structure in Kingsville has been coated with “droppings mixed with urine,” according to a request for information the agency issued to vendors this week to determine the “available options” for a “Vulture Deterrence Netting System.”
The vultures will “often defecate and vomit from their roost onto buildings below that house employees and equipment,” a CBP representative told Quartz. “There are anecdotes about birds dropping prey from a height of 300 feet, creating a terrifying and dangerous situation for those concerned.”
Vultures also “regurgitate a reeking and corrosive vomit,” according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture fact sheet. The noxious waste kills bacteria on the birds’ legs, but also corrodes the metal in radio towers. Vulture droppings can also carry a range of diseases.
It’s illegal to kill a vulture under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so CBP is getting creative to solve the radio tower issue. Officials have been working with wildlife and environmental experts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and even a Texas State Historical Preservation officer to find a solution that will keep the vultures away without harming them.
CBP has opted to essentially net the tower — not the birds — to deter the vultures from roosting. Nets will be installed, likely by August, after the tower is repaired — and cleaned, according to Quartz.