Vultures taking over Mo. town

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HARRISONVILLE, Mo. --  A city plan to find a new home for large turkey vultures can't come soon enough for some people living in Harrisonville.

The vultures have made a neighborhood water tower their resting place at night.   The city's public works plan was supposed to be put into place by the end of April.  But the city says its making final arrangements before before it can happen.

So, in the meantime, neighbors will have to just stick it out.

For Charlotte Swanson, that means droppings are all over her items that sit outside of her son's home.

"I was setting up there and had to keep wiping everything down and it gets frustrating just trying to do a simple thing like have a garage sale and you can't," Swanson said.

The culprits are a group of about 50 turkey vultures, flying to their resting place at night.  That is a water tower smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood.  Swanson said the scent they leave behind is unpleasant to say the least.

"It's like I want to say a dump yard or a slaughter house," Swanson said.

Swanson said she also worries about her health.  She had to go to the doctor after the garage sale because she was feeling very ill.

But the scavenging birds, are protected.

The director of the city's public works department, Jerry Gibbs, said the Missouri Department of Conservation suggests disrupting the birds' habitat by installing strobe or flashing lights on the 140-foot tower.  He said they also suggest hanging a fake turkey vulture upside down.

"It was hard for me to believe that's all it would take but apparently they don't like to see their own kind in distress," Gibbs said.

Another neighbor Naomi Hargis said she finds a new surprise everyday living across the street.

She said she wants this plan to happen fast, but more importantly to work, so she can get back to enjoying her meals.

"It seems like I can taste it and that poop smells like vomit," Hargis said.

The public works department said the birds come in the middle of March and leave early October.  But Gibbs said the problem got really bad last year with the dry summer.

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email: gia.vang@wdaftv4.com

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