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Leesburg Town Council member fighting for non-lethal treatment of vultures

In response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts this week to scare off 200 to 250 vultures away from a southeast Leesburg neighborhood, a Town Council member is opposing how the birds are being treated.

Leesburg Town Council Member Marty Martinez on Wednesday released a statement saying he would support the current process as long as it’s done only in a non-lethal manner and without lasers.

The town, Martinez said, has received 84 emails from residents who would rather save the vultures than hurt them.

“I do not advocate any lethal uses to remove the vultures and will do what I can to ensure that non-lethal and no lasers are used to remove the vultures,” he said in a statement. “Even though they are a nuisance to some neighborhoods, I believe they should be protected.”

The USDA will be in the area of Mayfair Drive and Plaza Street until Jan. 11 using various methods to scare the vultures away.

The vultures have roosted in the trees of the Camp family on Mayfair Drive and are causing damage to the neighborhood by stripping bark from trees, eating the rubber off roofs and cars and defecating in yards.

The vultures excrement is acidic enough to eat the paint off cars, according to the USDA.

On Jan. 7, the USDA began efforts to scare the vultures away, using techniques such as firing blanks into the air as the birds approached.

Other methods that are sometimes used include pyrotechnics and lasers. The USDA on Jan. 7 also hung the carcass of a vulture from a tree in the Camps’ backyard to scare the birds away.

“For a species making a living at eating dead things they’re sensitive to their own species,” Scott Barras, state director for the USDA’s wildlife service program, told the Times-Mirror last week.

Martinez said vultures are a critical part of the ecosystem and while their numbers increase in the winter, they will decline as non-resident birds migrate north and flocks disperse.

“We welcome the opportunity to help the community build an understanding of vultures and the critical roles they play in our ecosystem,” Martinez said in a prepared statement. “It also should be recognized that many communities actually celebrate vultures.”

Martinez said he is looking forward to discussing the issue with town staff. He is requesting that the town allow USDA to displace the birds by non-lethal means only. He is also requesting that lasers not be used.

Martinez and a USDA official could not be immediately reached for further comment.


Buzzard solution:

Step #1 - grab a fresh road kill from Rt.15.
Step #2 - place roadkill underneath your 2nd story window.
Step #3 - When vultures descend upon carcass, throw a large net on top of them, out of the 2nd story window.
Step #4 - drive them to MD and release them.
Problem solved.

lol @ west

Two vultures tried to board a plane at Dulles yesterday, each with 2 dead rabbits.  TSA tried to stop them, asking what they had.  The vultures said they were just carrion.

Okay…what’s wrong with the lasers?  They aren’t killing the birds with the lasers….they’re trying to get them to move on.  Mr. Martinez I guess the folks who are so unfortunate as to have them roosting in their trees, damaging their personal property and dealing with the health hazard would be more than happy to have you over at their property every morning cleaning up after them.  Right, I mean you’d volunteer to do that wouldn’t you?  Either that or they don’t have to pay any town taxes since they are providing a habitat for a protected bird.  Don’t be a fool Mr. Martinez…..it’s really embarrassing.

I wouldn’t like them roosting in my suburban backyard, either. However, you would not like a world without vultures in it. They are protected for a reason.

They are protected.  The Migratory Bird Act.  I believe USDA can still take birds (kill) if there is cause, but they can’t just roll in and wipe out the vultures for fun.  I know they periodically do it in regards to Canada Geese.

Really?  Is this really something to “laugh” about?  YES!  Mr. Martinez goes to the mat over buzzards.  Forget about people, forget about regularly showing up for meetings.  Forget about working hard at the council job he has.  BUT, don’t mess with our buzzards.  What a day!

Jeanne, put away your NRA card.  “Kill them” is not the only option!  The key is to make the birds miserable enough that they leave.  It won’t happen in a day, but we don’t need to shoot every animal that irritates us.

But Mr. Martinez offers no suggestions as to what “non-lethal” measures he would approve.  What are they?

FTA:  “Even though they are a nuisance to some neighborhoods, I believe they should be protected.”  Citizens’ private property rights should be the first consideration here, not the vultures.

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