Only two buzzards hang out on the tower during the day
OXFORD -- Oxford's buzzard problem may soon be solved.
For some time, the residents in the small town have been plagued with a large population of vultures that have settled on the water tower and in trees.
"The buzzards swarm in here about 4 p.m. every day and drape all over the water tank, and then they go to the trees over houses along West Watson Street," said Oxford resident Claude Sitton. "They're uncountable, but I would say there are about 75 to 100 of them."
Sitton said the birds generally come first thing in the morning, leave during the day and then return around 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon.
"They line up on the water tower, the steel struts and when space runs out -- and that's every day -- they sit in the old oak trees right over the homes," he said.
Sitton said it's getting to be a real problem, particularly for residents, their yards and their vehicles, which are being bombarded with large bird droppings.
Oxford City Manager Clark Miller said the scavenging birds come twice a year, usually in the spring and fall. He said several remedies have been tried to get the buzzards to leave town. Miller said he has fired blank shotgun shells at the birds. Sitton said he and another resident have blasted boat horns at the feathered creatures -- to no avail.
The loud noise would startle the vultures and they would fly off, only to return a short time later.
Miller said Oxford Police Chief David Harvey has purchased from the state Department of Natural Resources a fake vulture to hang off the water tank. He said the vulture will be hung next week while crews are performing some previously scheduled work on the water tank.
"It's a fake turkey head and wings from a dead vulture and we'll hang it up there," Miller said. "Supposedly they don't like being around one of their own that has died, so they relocate. But we'll find out in about a week if it works."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.