Noise Harassment Scheduled to Scare Flock of Vultures from City

by | Jul 18, 2015 | News

By Susan Larson

The City of Fredericksburg has contracted with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services for up to ten days of “noise harassment and intimidation methods” to remove a flock of about 60 vultures from the city.

The process begins at dusk Monday, July 20, 2015. USDA wildlife agents will set off pyrotechnics (fireworks) to deter the vultures from returning to the roost, which is located on city property adjacent to the Gladys H. Oberle Alternative School, the Apartments at Cobblestone Square and the Belman Road Recycling Center and Regional Landfill.

City Council approved the $5,000 expenditure, because the birds have been causing significant damage to the school building, according to Fredericksburg Police Department public information officer Sarah Kirkpatrick. “The school has had major issues for almost two years, with vultures tearing up sections of the roof with their beaks and talons, causing leaks,” she said.

“The public should be aware that USDA Wildlife agents will be in the area of the roost carrying rifles and shooting pyrotechnics.”

There is not a set schedule for setting off the pyrotechnics. “Most should be launched around dusk, but it depends on when vultures try to return to the roost,” Kirkpatrick said.

Vultures are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and interfering with their habitat is highly regulated. “The City of Fredericksburg Police Department has contracted USDA Wildlife Services to remove the vulture roost in a safe and humane way,” Kirkpatrick said.

If noise harassment does not work, wildlife agents will shoot a limited number of vultures and hang their effigies around the roost, Kirkpatrick said. “This method will make the vultures feel threatened and discourage them from returning.”

And if that doesn’t work? “The USDA Wildlife Agents are experts in removing vulture roosts, and they will take all steps possible to have the vultures relocate to another place,” Kirkpatrick said. “However, if there are a few vultures that have not vacated the roost at the end of the removal process, the wildlife agents may shoot the remaining vultures.”

Residents in the area should secure their dogs, as many are terrified of fireworks, according to the Humane Society of the United States. In addition, make sure your pet has on a collar with securely attached, legible identification tags that include your address and phone number. If you’re out walking with the noise begins, your pet could flee.

The Virginia Central Railway Trail runs adjacent to the area. Kirkpatrick said it will remain open.

Anyone with questions about the vulture removal project should contact Fredericksburg Police Sergeant Kuebler at 540-373-3122. He is available 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.


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