Editorial

These buzzards are pricey!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The saga of the unwelcome turkey vultures lodging on Cherokee’s cell/radio towers took another turn this week with cell tower owner US Cellular informing the City they are looking into “physical barrier options” for their tower, in addition to the fake dead vulture that is already hanging on the tower.

The physical barrier options include spring loaded wire that won’t support landings. US Cellular said the fake dead bird worked for a few days until the vultures got used to it, eventually adopting the quiet interloper into the commune.

The County Board of Supervisors has given authorization to allow a real dead vulture to be hung on the County radio tower at the courthouse, but the City will wait until receiving an update from US Cellular regarding the physical barrier efforts.

Turkey vultures have expanded their territories and increased in large numbers since the banning of toxic pesticides and of lead shot used by hunters. Except for some Republicans, many people also believe that climate change has allowed the birds to move into now warmer northern climes as they ride the warmer air currents into new carrion feeding grounds.

Frequent flooding throughout the Midwest also leaves behind dead fish and other small (drowned) animals when the waters recede, which also attracts the vultures.

Getting rid of cell phones and their towers would be a boon to mankind and might help alleviate the problem, but tall trees used to be the vulture’s first choice for roosting and they’d just probably go there.

The turkey vulture has few natural predators. Immature and fledging vultures may fall prey to great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, golden and bald eagles, while eggs and nestlings may be preyed on by mammals such as raccoons and opossums.

The turkey vulture species receives legal protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It is illegal to kill or possess turkey vultures, and a single violation of the law is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and six months in prison.

The City now possesses about 50 of the #@$%*#’s so we owe the feds $750,000 and face 25 years in prison.

We might as well go ahead and kill them, too.