My first week working in the Orange County Manager’s Office provided one particularly interesting assignment. The Orange County landfill is located near the Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood. Residents have noticed an increase in turkey vultures hanging out in the area. I was charged with finding out why there was such an increase in the number of vultures. As it turns out Gates County and Moore County are encountering similar problems. These counties do not have a landfill near the vulture nesting areas. It appears that the problem can be attributed simply to an increase in the vulture population. From 2000 – 2010 the turkey vulture population increased in North Carolina by 130%. The black vulture population increased by 150%. Wild speculations can be found all over as to why the sudden increase in numbers. However, the exact reason is unknown.
It is illegal to kill a vulture. They are federally protected. There are several methods people have tried to get them to move to a different location. Some sound much more outrageous than others. Several sites recommend setting up a motion detection water sprinkler. When the birds activate the motion detector, the sprinkler sprays them with high pressure water. Another is to hang an effigy of a dead vulture in the place they nest. Theoretically this is supposed to scare them away. Finally, making a lot of loud noise late in the evening around the wake (name for a group of vultures) is supposed to cause them to move. This method tends to work initially, but often times they return in greater numbers several days later.
It seems until a concrete reason for the population spike can be identified and addressed, North Carolina residents are going to have be creative in how they deter vultures from their neighborhood.