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Family trying to get black vultures to buzz off

A man in East Pea Ridge has been using an airhorn to try to stop vultures from roosting on his roof.
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 10:59 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - You don’t have to be superstitious to get an uneasy feeling when you see a large number of black vultures roosting on the roof of your home.

Skyler Smith lives on Laurel Crossing in East Pea Ridge in Huntington.

“Just to see them and have them around is a little bit creepy,” Smith said.

He says he’s noticed some vultures in the area since he moved there seven years ago, but the number of them in recent weeks seems to have exploded.

“We’ll see 75 or a 100 at a time sometimes,” he said.

His wife reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who got them in touch with a local expert, who told them the number of black vultures in West Virginia has gone up over the past couple decades, and they’ve become a major nuisance for many.

“You get 20 or 30 birds on top of your house; they could tear up your roof really quickly,” Smith said. “That’s really where the concern comes in is they could damage the house.”

The birds are a federally protected species. One of the methods recommended to get rid of them was harassment. Smith succeeded in getting some of the birds to buzz off using an airhorn.

“That worked pretty well, but obviously the neighbors don’t like it too well,” he said. “It’s a work in progress.”

According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the scavengers have been known to also kill newborn livestock and pets and can cause thousands of dollars of damage to houses by ripping off roof shingles.

Biologists also say their droppings can eat away at roofs.

“They still spread around,” Smith said. “They still come back, so it’s probably going to be a long process of trying to repeat it until they finally don’t want to come any more.”

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