Eastern Wake News

Buzz off, Wendell tells turkey vultures

Following in the steps of Knightdale and Raleigh, the town has decided to fight turkey vulture invasions with dead buzzards.

During the first week of January, Raleigh maintainence crews installed a stuffed bird to hang discreetly from the railing of the Wendell water tower on Poplar Street.

The idea of a dead bird upside down ideally communicates an animal in distress to the birds to scare them off.

The town is currently monitoring the effigy’s effect on an ongoing basis. So far, the vultures are still returning.

Town manager Teresa Piner said that’s fairly normal. It takes time to see a change, she said. However, the town will considering installing a second stuffed bird if necessary.

Since the City of Raleigh’s Department of Public Utilities installed two birds on a Knightdale water tower last summer, their first attempt, buzzards have stayed away.

Raleigh also recently installed the stuffed birds out of sight in Wake Forest. The effigies each cost $800 and are provided to the City of Raleigh from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Flocks of the carnivorous birds on the tower are not only unsightly, but their droppings create maintainence problems for the tower and the surrounding neighborhood.

Strong winds can carry the fecal matter onto surrounding properties. The birds also perch on homes and yards, leaving their droppings behind.

Piner said that the town had received several complaints about the birds, but none so far about the effigy.

“It’s just disturbing to be out in your yard and have vultures on your house,” she said.

She said that due to Wendell’s status as a bird sanctuary as well as the protected species status of the buzzards, carefully scaring the birds off is one of the few possible tactics to protect the homes and tower.

The water in the tower is not affected by the buzzards, but the health of area residents is a concern, Piner said.

“We are looking at ways that are safe for the animals and provide relief for citizens,” she said.