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Culpeper officials have plans to deal with vultures

Federal and town officials are planning to deal with vultures roosting and loafing in several areas of town and causing a nuisance. The plan will begin Dec.3 and continue throughout the winter.

This year’s effort with the United States Department of Agriculture will attempt to move more than 70 vultures – both black and turkey vultures – away from their current roosts.

The action to rid the town of these federally protected raptors has been driven by complaints from several areas in town, said Culpeper Public Works Director Jim Hoy.

The efforts will take place at dusk and during the early evening hours. Residents in the areas of Main Street, Williams Street, West Fairview Road, Third Street, and an area between Park Ave. and Mason Street and near Southgate Shopping Center may experience noise in the late afternoon or evening hours.

It is illegal for citizens to kill vultures without a federal permit. A state hunting license doesn’t qualify as a permit, officials said.

The cooperative vulture eradication effort between federal and town officials has been ongoing for about 10 years. The team will use various techniques to move or kill the vultures. Some of the techniques will be loud and bright.

“They will use a combination of pyrotechnics to disperse them and lethal means to control them,” said Hoy.

Noise and light-makers will help to disperse the vultures attempting to roost at night.

Another way officials hope to rid areas of vultures is hanging a dead vulture in effigy from a tree where they roost. Vultures respond to either dead or artificial vultures hung upside down from trees or towers.

“Using effigies deters roosting,” said Hoy.

The USDA agents will work with town public works employees. The agents will be on public land and on private land where the property owner has given written permission.

Part of the problem contributing to a large number of vultures roosting and loafing near a shopping center has been the availability of food set out for stray animals.

“There is a correlation between vultures and feeding stray animals in an uncontrolled manner,” said Hoy.

The Virginia Game Commission considers feeding wildlife as a violation of state law,” Hoy said. “We encourage people to weigh the impact to their neighbors by uncontrolled feeding of strays.”

Vultures cause damage to property such as cables, roofing material and convertible tops. They also create a health hazard with droppings where they roost.

“We ask the public’s patience as we work to rid the town of these nuisance roosts,” said Hoy
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