Buzz off! Buzzards concern Upstate community

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LOCKHART, SC (WSPA) – Some Upstate residents say buzzards are causing big problems in Lockhart.

“They come early in the morning,” said resident Josie Pitts. “It sounds like somebody is just sitting there rolling bowling balls on top of my house and what they’re doing is they’re running on my house.”

Around the corner from her home, neighbor Ray Duncan says he’s tired of the birds, too.

“It’s just a horrible sound – it’ll get you right up out of bed,” he said. “They really aren’t scared of nothing much.”

These Lockhart residents say black vultures, better known as buzzards, are doing way more than ruffling a few feathers.

“They will just peck peck peck until they get one shingle up,” said Duncan.

Pitts says her dogs were also targeted and injured. “What about my other dogs?” she said. “They’ll attack my other dogs if they attacked him.”

She said the birds also picked at the weather lining on her car, leaving costly damage.

“Literally had it for three days and I wake up to like 50 of them – I mean the whole car – you couldn’t see the top of the car,” she said. “They’ve already caused so much damage to our house, our dogs, our cars and then everybody else’s the whole neighborhood.”

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says it’s typical for black vultures to congregate in groups like what residents say they’ve noticed them doing in trees right near the canal.

“I won’t say it’s a regular basis but it’s a reoccurring issue across the state,” said DNR wildlife biologist Tom Swayngham.

He said the birds are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“The best solution is to harass them particularly in the evenings when they start coming in with fireworks. You cannot harm them, but you can harass them and make them uncomfortable,” Swayngham said. “You can get a permit from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service out of their Atlanta office which would allow you to potentially kill one but this is not a quick process.”

Pitts says she has tried scaring the birds with a screamer siren but they still return.

“It doesn’t really help,” she said. “Once we shoot them, 50 more come back in the yard.”

DNR said people can be fined for harming the birds.

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