Gustine firing shells on Saturday to solve its bird problem

GUSTINE, Calif. (KFSN) -- City officials in Gustine are working to eliminate some loud and messy birds from a local park.

They want area residents to know that noise-making aerial shells will be fired off on Saturday night.

It's part of an effort to move hundreds of Cattle Egrets from Schmidt Park at Highway 33 and Linden Avenue.

Area residents can expect to hear loud booms over the course of a few minutes as the shells are fired at about 7 pm.

Schmidt Park will be closed to the public from 6:45 pm to the end of the firing at 7 pm.

City officials had to go to Washington, DC, to get a permit from the federal Fish and Wildlife Service because the egrets are a protected migratory bird.

"We're not trying to harm the birds at all. However, the city has developed a program to have some loud noises in the trees on Saturday nights to try to scare the birds away," says chief of police Ruben Chavez.

The eradication campaign has also included the removal of nests and eggs.

City manager Doug Dunford says city crews have removed more than 1,900 eggs and 1,300 nests from Schmidt Park trees since April 1st.
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