Duke Street Committee — Windsor mayor addressing buzzards

Published 1:39 am Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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Buzzards are roosting near the end of Duke Street in Windsor, beginning to make a mess, and Windsor Mayor George Stubbs is reaching out to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources to see about moving the birds elsewhere.

As noted at FeatherFreeZone.com, all vultures — another name for buzzards — are protected in the U.S. by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and may not be harmed by law. 

“Humane control solutions, however, are allowed for their removal from unwanted areas,” officials on the website stated.

During the Tuesday, March 14, Windsor Town Council meeting, Stubbs mentioned receiving a call from a resident during the week of March 5-11 about buzzards present near the end of Duke Street, and Stubbs said he has been down there several times since then to evaluate the situation.

“The buzzards have started roosting in those tall pine trees,” he said during a Thursday, March 16, interview. “There were two already roosted there. Then there were a couple more that came in to roost up in the very top.”

He noted that he has seen as many as six buzzards in that area. Nature.org states that vultures at rest in a tree or on a fence post are known as a committee of vultures.

In an on-site interview, Stubbs pointed out signs of the buzzards’ presence that were on the ground at the foot of the pine trees, including feces and feathers.

“I’m aware they can make a mess,” he said.

However, he also emphasized that no one should shoot them because there is a town ordinance prohibiting the discharge of weapons in town and also because buzzards are protected by federal law.

“They are a carnivore,” he said. “They perform a service to you by cleaning the roads up (of) carcasses and stuff like that.”

He said he was not sure what DWR can do in the Duke Street situation, but he wants to find out. He indicated that there are a couple other areas around town where buzzards have roosted.

“One time at the end of Pine Lane off of Community (Drive), they started roosting in that little section of pines there,” he said.

Stubbs remembered learning about a humane method of getting buzzards to move. He said a man once told him that he got a large spoon and a pot or piece of metal and banged them together outside in the afternoon across two or three days.

“He said, ‘If you make enough noise two or three times in the afternoon,’ he said, ‘it’ll agitate them to the point that they will relocate,’” Stubbs recalled.

However, Stubbs said the man who shared this tip acknowledged that it simply moves the problem from one area to another.

Consequently, Stubbs intends to talk with DWR to discover a legal, long-term solution.