Bedford Police Try New Tool to Get Rid of Vultures

Bedford, VA - Vultures have been a recurring nuisance in Bedford. Police find ways to chase them from one neighborhood only for the birds to roost somewhere else across town.

Everywhere they land, they do damage to roofs and cars.

It's not exactly the bird's eye view Lewis Abbott wants.

"I'd say it's a 100 plus out there in the yard," he said. "Just a nesting area."

For vultures, you might call them buzzards, they're one in the same and come by the dozens.

Just up the road from the Abbott house is the old Frank Chervan furniture factory in Bedford.

With no trucks coming in, no workers reporting for their shifts to scare them off, the birds just shift back and forth.

"We're just pushing them from one area of the city, possibly out into the county, basically around the city in different neighborhoods," said Capt. Jim Bennett, from the Bedford Police Department.

Bennett says the Bedford PD got a federal permit to kill the vultures, a protected species. But it's not easy.

"In the city, it's hard to shoot a shotgun at a bird that's roosting in the air, because the bullets have to come down somewhere."

So instead of bringing in the big guns, they got a propane cannon. It's set to a timer and gives off a shotgun like noise every morning and evening to scare the birds away.

Whether they fly south, north, east, or west, Abbott is sure they'll come back.

"Whatever's bringing them here now will bring them back I'm sure," said Abbott. "In 10 years, they've always come back."

Police are going to reset the timer so the cannon goes off a couple of times an hour, except overnights, until the birds are gone.