Buzzards flock to Dougherty Co.’s Putney Park, leaders search for relocation methods

Local leaders say ideas for relocating the turkey vultures have been paused for now.
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 9:04 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -The Dougherty County Commission won’t be calling for fireworks to try to relocate nuisance birds from Putney Park on Thursday.

Turkey vultures, which some refer to as “buzzards,” have been nesting there. And even though their presence and waste have become problematic.

Commissioners want to wait until public works can survey the birds first.

This swing set is an area where most people like to sit, but these buzzards have created health concerns from the mess they leave. A lot of people who use this park avoid it because of the birds.

This issue has now been turned over from the commission to the public works director.

“What he has done is pump the brakes on this thing right now. He is just trying to run surveillance to find out what is the best time to relocate the buzzards,” Anthony Jones Dougherty County Commissioner District 6 said.

WALB saw about eight or 10 vultures and that was just a little after noon on Wednesday. Community leaders said that they have had more in the past and are doing something about it after a recent meeting.

“We don’t need to have this large of a number of buzzards around. Like I said, they are not trying to harm them or kill them, they are just trying to relocate them to another place. We all know and the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) knows that not all of them are going to leave and some of them will come back,” said Mike Burrell-resident of Putney.

One resident, Mike Burrell, has expressed his concerns from a health standpoint. He has seen first-hand how these birds can deter people from wanting to visit.

Turkey vultures are endangered species, but they will not hurt humans. Their main object is to eat things that are dead such as roadkill. They also usually flock to tall structures.

“A lot of people are frightened of them, and a lot of people are not. But certainly, the ones that use the park I think it’s best that we don’t have buzzards around while the park is being used. Especially when we have picnics and once we get this building up it will be one of the nicest buildings we have,” Anthony Jones, Dougherty County District 6 commissioner, said.

Part of the residents’ concern about the buzzards is that the mess they leave behind is more of a sanitary issue than anything.

“The community garden is there as well so people are going to want to eat those vegetables over there and certainly we want those vegetables to be safe to eat,” said Anthony Jones Dougherty County Commissioner District 6.

Many leaders and residents in the community feel like they have to co-exist with the turkey vultures making it hard for residents to enjoy what the park has.

One of the new initiatives that will come to Putney Park is a new community center, something they haven’t had before.

“We haven’t started breaking the ground yet but there are a lot of people who are excited about having a new community center, and very thankful for the county for finding the funds to build it,” Mike Burrell, a resident of Putney, said.

Dougherty County Commissioner Anthony Jones says that vultures like the ones that frequent the park are likely due to trash, and things that are dead.

“There are two kinds of buzzards they are loafers, and I think what we have here are loafers that just kind of hanging around. You know just hanging around scavenging around looking in the cans, find out what they can for free. And they will keep coming as long as you are dropping garbage,” said Jones.

Right now, there is no timeline on when the public works department will be done with the survey of the birds, but they hope to make it more attractive for residents to visit.