John Crow laws
The Town of Culpeper is having a “buzzard problem.” Big birds are hanging out doing their business where the town doesn’t want them. Forty miles southwest, the City Council of Charlottesville discussed a perceived problem with assemblages of humanoids on their mall November 19. Members of the public made colorful use of language in defense of the humanoids' right to sleep on the sidewalk, use base language, and solicit funds from passers-by. What options are in a town’s toolbox for dealing with unwanted wildlife?
Occasionally, a dead vulture or a replica thereof may be hung upside down from a tree to get the vultures’ attention. “Using effigies deters roosting,” said Culpeper Public Works Director Jim Hoy, according to the Free Lance-Star. Other means: Beginning December 3, town employees, along with officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will make another attempt to run the unwanted residents out of town– an aerial bombardment, according to the Free Lance-Star, "with loud firecracker-type devices, will be used to get the birds to move their roosts to rural areas. If that fails, some of the more than 70 buzzards will probably be shot."
I have a liking for turkey vultures. They consume animals killed by automobiles. They are a working part of the eco-system. They are monogamous, they live a long time, they soar, they don’t talk. They can projectile vomit on you if you get in their space, but generally they do their business of cleaning up. (Their species name, Cathartes aura, means “cleaning breeze” in Latin).
So, the offending birds may be shot. The protection conferred by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 is not absolute, says the town spokesperson, noting that licensed federal agents will wield the firearms.
Commentator Bill Emory puts up a new photo nearly every day at billemory.com/blog.
Note: The online version of this story originally ended with a question: What is the exception [to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act]? Town spokesperson Wally Bunker quickly contacted us to note that the exception is contained within the law. So the story above has been amended.–editorRead more on: buzzards