Buzzards that vomit when threatened and leave piles of acidic dropping have invaded a small town and nobody knows why

Roosting black vultures.
Roosting black vultures. Getty Images
  • Residents of Bunn, North Carolina, are puzzled why buzzards have been invading their town.

  • Dozens of birds have congregated in the town, and attempts to scare them off using cannons and horns have failed.

  • Buzzards, which are black or turkey vultures, have a bad reputation but are generally harmless to humans.

Buzzards have descended on a town in North Carolina, and attempts to scare them off with loud cannons and fake effigies have failed, reports say.

Over the past year, the birds of prey have converged in Bunn, North Carolina, The News & Observer of Raleigh said.

Local resident Ally Leggett told the paper that at the height of the invasion, she counted 58 buzzards perched around her house.

"This weekend, they were up there swarming," she told the paper, gesturing to the roof. "It makes my dogs insane."

She said the unwelcome visitors would perch on her chimney leaving a trail of destruction due to their habit of pecking at the bricks, pulling them down.

On Wednesday, 28 buzzards sat on a cellular tower along Main Street, and another 21 gatheed at Bunn High School across the street, the paper said.

Bunn residents are puzzled over why the birds' attraction to their town, and have tried to scare them away with various tactics.

In December, the town began firing a propane cannon off the roof of the local high school at regular intervals, day or night, hoping the shotgun-like sound would scare off the birds.

"That worked for a while," police chief Steve Massey told the local newspaper. "It seems they're back."

Massey added that he often goes by the birds to blow his horn at them.

The town also tried hanging "effigies" around the rooftop of the high school to keep the birds away, but the 2-foot tall black birds remained undeterred.

Although called buzzards, the birds are either black or turkey vultures, both of which are protected species. Federal and state law outlaws killing, hurting, or harassing the birds.

The turkey vulture has a five-foot wingspan and the black vultures are six-foot, according to NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Vultures are often disliked because they feed primarily on carrion, and are often depicted as harbingers of doom and death in popular culture.

The birds' habit of vomiting when threatened adds to the revulsion people feel towards them. Their droppings are acidic and can eat through the paint on a car, according to the News & Record of Greensboro.

Despite their reputation, they are mostly harmless to humans.

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