Montana bird copper mine rifle shoot
Courtesy Business Insider
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When ground water collected in a old open pit copper mine near Butte, Montana, it created a toxic lake. The sulfuric acid-laced water that resulted is dangerous to migratory birds.

That’s why, for the last thirty years, “waterfowl protection specialists” have been employted to scare the birds away. They use everything from sirens, lasers, propane cannons, drones (both flying and floating) and even fireworks to shoo the birds if and when they land in the water.

One of the most effective ways to spook the birds off the pit, though, is to fire some strategically-placed rounds in the water around them. Enjoy the video.

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  1. I’ve read about this place before. Very nasty pool, indeed. Not only for the Ph (around 2 or 3, IIRC), but because of all the toxic chemicals from the ground waste below.

      • Yep, there are also some waters that go in the opposite direction and are so alkaline that they can burn a man’s skin. Some are PH 9+ and if you go to Africa, one is as high as 10.5PH.

        Extremes on either end are nasty.

    • This is common and all mining operations. When you expose new rock water touches the rock and dissolves small amounts of sulfur that then makes sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid eats away at the rock exposing more sulfur thus creating more sulfuric acid. There are Bronze Age copper mines in the United Kingdom that are leaching out acid to this day. The easiest solution to the acidic properties of that lake is to dump a few hundred thousand pounds of soda ash into it. Soda ash is under $200 per ton if you buy it in bulk.

      • Interesting. I haven’t any experience with large scale mining but, it strikes me as surprising and interesting that such low pH occurs with any amount of regularity. Fascinating. I’m gonna have to go check one of these lakes out. I may also have to look into soda ash futures (I’ve never bought it in quantities larger than necessary for a swimming pool, apparently I’m being overcharged.)

  2. We have critter eradication at our towns 7000′ runway. Those guys are always trying new stuff…high volume recordings of hawks (not redtails, we have plenty of those), fake plastic owls in the hangers that move their heads, geese that are wintering here ain’t too afraid of much. Usually guys will go out with 870s to clear when a flight is inbound.

    • 12-ga bird bangs are prohibited in CA and are considered destructive devices under state law. I sure would like to have some, but no go.

  3. So I guess it’s not possible for the company that made the poison lake to clean the shit hole up. And after 30yrs isn’t it about time ?

    • Very likely went bankrupt years ago. The cost of extracting any remaining ore exceeded the benefit, and the bosses & investors had their millions, so they walked away. The federal Superfund program does not have an endless supply of cash.

  4. That’s why, for the last thirty years,…”

    Well. America has officially gone to hell. We won WWII, won the Cold War, put a man on the moon with the use of slide rulers, but can’t decontaminate a lake? It’s over.

  5. Hmm, I was taught not to shoot to scare. Every time we pulled a trigger, our intent was to hit a target or kill an animal.

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