Psychological warfare tactics fight a vulture infestation
With help from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgians are using sirens and Canada goose decoys to try to scare away hundreds of black and turkey vultures that moved in around Thanksgiving.
These days, the trees along Pelham Drive are often thick with vultures. At times they darken the skies, when hundreds take flight. They're a nuisance for neighbors who with the help of DNR are fighting back.
"They like to get up on roofs and pull up shingles, they'll get on boat cushions and pull out the stuffing of the boat cushions so, they can cause quite a bit of damage," Julie Robbins, a Wildlife Biologist Georgia Dept. of Nature Resources.
To keep the birds out of neighboring trees, DNR is using psychological warfare, arming neighbors, not to harm the birds, but to scare them away.
"This is the launch that acts a lot like a cap gun and this is called a screamer siren that makes a loud noise as it shoot to help haze the animals away," said Robbins. "For scaring vultures these tend to be the most effective methods that we have right now, there are also laser available that you can shine in their eyes as well."
DNR is able to provide several of the screaming sirens and guns to neighbors to shoot off when they see the birds roosting. Biologists say the black and turkey vulture mixed flocks have a tendency to migrate to Georgia during the winter months and often become a problem.
Neighbors have found it's quite effective. "We heard them shooting whatever that is a couple of days ago and for the last couple of days it hasn't been as many, just a few in the trees out there," Chan Sellars said.
A Canada goose decoy can also help. "We've spray painted them black to make them look a little more like a vulture," said Robbins. "We hook the line up in the branches and we can run the effigy up into the tree and hang it in the branches."
It sends a strong message to the unwanted feathered visitors. "It reinforces the message to the vultures particularly when you fire off a pyrotechnic, that something bad has happened and they don't want to come back to that roost site."
Neighbors hope the vultures get the message loud and clear and find a more appropriate place to spend their days.
The DNR says they get more vulture complaints in the winter when black and turkey vultures migrate into Georgia.
Biologists say the birds are relatively clean and only pose a health risk when they're in large concentrations and create a large accumulation of feces.
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