Buzzards Gone Wild: Altavista Works to Fix the Problem

Altavista, VA - Buzzards are causing a lot of unrest in the Altavista area, and they have been for quite some time. Now, town officials are stepping in.

Police records show complaints for these birds date back six years. We went to Franklin Avenue to see for ourselves how bad it is.

"Oh my goodness, they've gone up yonder," YMCA employee Pat Puckette said. "I can see them real well out my window. Sometimes I think, 'The buzzards are coming to get me.'"

The buzzards have not gotten a hold of Puckette yet, but they are causing her a bit of grief.

"It's not like one or two, it's just a big group of birds, of buzzards," Puckette said. "Dirty birds. They're looking for something. They're dirty birds."

She says the Y is concerned about kids 12 years old and younger who play outside.

"You kind of worry when you walk out and they're circling over top of you too. You know, little accidents," Puckette laughed.

Neighbors seem more bothered and annoyed.

"I wish they weren't there," said Doris Adams who lives on 9th and Franklin.. "I just don't like being covered over with buzzards."

Assistant Town Manager Daniel Witt says the buzzard problem may be a thing of the past in the coming weeks.

"They've become where they're not really afraid of our citizens, so they'll stay around, where they're normally afraid and they are wild animals," Witt said.

Last week, the town submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Services to seek permission to kill off some of the birds. They were given the, "Ok."

"The permit has been issued to the Altavista Police Dept. They will need to develop a plan, how to safely do this," Witt said.

The next question is, "How?" Officials have not decided exactly how to do it yet but they will have to be extra careful. The plan will take into account that the birds are in a residential area and they do not want to hurt people or damage property in the process.