Culpeper Combats Vulture Population

Culpeper has too many vultures, at least according to town officials. They say the birds are preying on more than just animals - they've turned to damaging buildings and are a nuisance to residents. The buzzards have been an issue for nearly ten years but this December, Culpeper officials say they are taking action.

"I think our proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains is sort of an airway for them," said Jim Hoy, Town of Culpeper Director of Public Works. "It's a convenient spot for them to roost."

Over the past several months, there have been as many as one hundred vultures flocking to the shopping center that houses the Culpeper County Library.

"What we've seen is the vultures were here behind the library living and roosting in the trees and they started feeding on the membranes of the roof of the library," said Paul Howard, Jr., the Director of Culpeper Environmental Services.

Howard said it costs about $5,000 to patch up all of the damage.

Buzzards are typically attracted to areas where something has died, but they also come for food. Town officials say people have been unintentionally attracting the vultures when they feed stray animals.

Come December 3rd, officials have a plan to keep the pesky birds away. They have teamed up with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to come up with a plan to get rid of more than 70 black and turkey vultures.

Hoy said there are multiple approaches to killing the buzzards. The USDA controls their population by killing as many birds as they need. After killing vultures, they use pyrotechnics and light to scare them off. They even go as far as hanging effigies, or dead vultures, in the trees. They say that discourages them from roosting in areas where they are creating problems.

The town of Culpeper isn't the only place in Virginia that has been dealing with a vulture problem. The City of Staunton has gone through a similar program and say they've seen positive results.

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