Despite air cannons and effigies, Upstate city can't rid itself - FOX Carolina 21

Despite air cannons and effigies, Upstate city can't rid itself of vultures

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Vultures on Abbeville water tower (Nov. 16, 2017/FOX Carolina) Vultures on Abbeville water tower (Nov. 16, 2017/FOX Carolina)
Vultures circling over Abbeville (Nov. 16, 2017/FOX Carolina) Vultures circling over Abbeville (Nov. 16, 2017/FOX Carolina)
ABBEVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The city of Abbeville is plagued by an unusual pest - a horde of vultures.

City Manager Blake Stone said the battle with the vultures is something they have been dealing with for years now, despite multiple unsuccessful methods to get rid of the birds.

Vultures are federally protected so the city must humanely handle them.

Stone said first the city tried effigies - hanging a dead or frozen vulture from a tree or post. Since vultures don't eat their own kind, it encourages them to disperse. But they didn't go very far.

Black silhouettes cover the top of the Abbeville water tower where many have taken up roosting.

Stone said the vultures are 'urbanizing' themselves into the town, feeding not only on dead animals but also residents' trash. The birds have also torn shingles off rooftops and ripped open pool covers to reach water.

Officials tried a power air cannon, hoping to scare them away. But Stone said the birds became immune to the booming sound and recently they shot it 30 feet away from the flock and the vultures just stared at them.

They were considering pyrotechnics but are concerned about possible risks from sparks and disturbing residents with the noise.

Stone said the city is working with the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S Department of Agriculture to find a solution.

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