Dead birds strung to light posts are effective, minimally invasive way to deter vultures

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Something other than fish is catching the eye of boaters at Falls Lake.

Three vulture effigies hanging on light posts at the Upper Barton Boat Ramp left some visitors curious and confused.

“Sounds creepy to me — birds hanging from a light post,” said John Tinsley.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission said the fake dead birds were placed at Falls Lake Aug. 1.

Effigies were also put up at Cross Point Landing at the Shearon Harris Reservoir and Farrington Point Boat Ramp at Jordan Lake.

“I’ve never seen it before and I’ve fished from Canada all the way to the keys of Florida,” said Michael Frucelli.

The NCWRC posted signs under each effigy, alerting boaters to the joint project with the USDA.

A spokesperson said the fake birds are one of the most effective and least invasive ways to disperse the vultures from their roosts. According to the NCWRC, vultures recognize when one of their own is dead and mark the area as unsafe.

Frucelli said he comes to Falls Lake several times a week to fish and has seen vultures lurking by the water.

“All the vultures saw the fish laying in the water and they all ganged up on the bank and were watching it,” he said.

Vultures are federally protected, but wildlife experts say they can become a nuisance when they damage cars, boats, and even homes.

“I guess I understand why they are doing it, because of all the complaints of vultures destroying people’s automobiles and boats and stuff,” said Frucelli.

Experts ask people using the boat ramps help with the effort by cleaning up all of their trash and not leaving out any food or bait.

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