Lee County 'buzzing' with unwelcome guests

Lee County continues to attract new residents, but one neighborhood has not been so welcoming to a group of newcomers.

Residents on Pelham Drive aren't happy with their new neighbors, hundreds of black of turkey vultures. For the last several months, the birds have taken over, not only the trees behind their homes, but their rooftops and back yards.

Neighbors say the birds haven't been courteous, damaging some roofs and leaving behind droppings on everyone's vehicles.

"I just think that, that many in one place has got to be a health hazard I would think," said Chan Sellers. "They come in here every morning around 8:30 or 9:00 and then mid-day, they clear out, go hunting, but then they come back in the afternoon and it just seems like there's 500, 600 of them."

They don't just stick to the trees, they're on neighbors roofs, fences, and in their back yards. "I noticed the other day there was about 12 of them right, down the ridge of their house and all in their back yard," said Sellers.

"When I got out to work in the morning, they're right there on my roof, when I open my door, scares the crap out of me," said Ryan Williams.

They've called Georgia's Department of Natural Resources, but have found little help. The birds are a federally protected. Digging deeper we learned it's because the species was on the decline due to eggshell thinning from pesticides and a loss of their nesting habitat. Neighbors aren't so sure.

"For as many as I've seen out here I don't know if they're endangered or not," said Sellers.

So many gather in the skies, Ryan Williams is afraid to let his 6 week old puppy out. "I'm scared they're going to scoop him up, that's all there is, and I can't control the situation if too many birds come up pecking at him and stuff."

Some neighbors have tried shotgun blasts in an effort to scare the birds. The bird do migrate, leaving neighbors to hope they'll move on sooner rather than later. They have called DNR looking for help, but have found little assistance since the birds are a federally protected species.

DNR officers have promised neighbors they'll come out and evaluate the situation in the new year. They've also had complaints from Moultrie and Ellenton.

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