ABINGDON, Va. — Officers in Abingdon on Friday launched loud pyrotechnics into the sky in efforts to remove vultures from a neighborhood.

The Abingdon Police Department has received several complaints in the area of Green Spring Road regarding numerous vultures, according to spokeswoman Tenille Montgomery.

“They roost in several properties in that area,” Montgomery said.

The department has received complaints from Green Spring Road and Gibson Street. The vultures also congregate around the old mill area behind the Virginia Creeper Trail parking lot, Montgomery said.

Vultures can cause damage to houses, vehicles and other property, as well as to livestock and pets, police said in a news release. Other concerns include the accumulation of droppings and the odor on and near the homes.

After consulting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, police learned the best option for removal of the vultures is through the use of pyrotechnics, screamers and bird bombs during their roosting and loafing times. Officers will be launching the pyrotechnics during the evening hours and occasionally morning hours depending on the need for removal, police said.

The USDA recommends the process to continue for up to two weeks.

The black vultures are a serious problem at times for livestock producers, said Phil Blevins, the extension agent in Washington County. While a cow is calving, they will peck at the calf, leading to its death, he said.

Vultures will also kill baby calves if they can catch them lying down, he added. They also peck and tear at the cow as the calf is being born. The birds will also kill baby lambs, he said.

“Other damage I have heard of them doing is damaging the roof of houses and boat covers,” Blevins said. “My understanding is that they are migratory birds and are protected. Legal control measures have to be approved by wildlife officials as far as I know.”

rsorrell@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2531 | Twitter: @RSorrellBHC | Facebook.com/robertsorrelltn

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