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What's that sound? Mysterious booms at the lake are for the Air and Water Show

Posted at 10:15 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 23:15:07-04

From the morning through the afternoon cannons were going off down at Milwaukee's lakefront Thursday. The booms and blasts had a lot of people walking along the McKinley Marina pier confused by what they were hearing.

"I thought it was fireworks or something," said Scott Pelczynski.

"Slamming, I think somebody is trying to put their boat in the water," said Malachi Johnson, 8.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services is behind the blasts.

Officials say those are propane cannons that just fire air. They go off in intervals to scare off the birds. The cannons keep seagulls and other birds away from the low flying air show planes like the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. A bird strike to any of the demonstration planes could damage an engine or worse.

But the kids who are fans of the planes don't like the blasts.

"They hurt my ears," said Cayden Pelczynski, 7.

For others, the cannons are music to their ears.

"When I hear that I know the show is going to start and I come down and watch," said Phillip Sproule.

The Ag Department said they will be using the cannon throughout the weekend during the air show. Officials expect once the cannon stops the birds will return.