Written by Rick Washburn
If you look up at the sky along the Susquehanna River, you may sight an eagle soaring gracefully high in the sky. It’s quite a thrill to see the symbol of American freedom, the great Bald Eagle, flying overhead.
This article however, is not about our national bird, but about another soaring feathered creature. The Turkey Vulture. I like to think of them as the not-so-great Marietta Eagle. They really seem to like the riverfront in Marietta. Any time you want to see one, just drive down Front Street. You will find anywhere from one to fifty roosting in the trees or on the power lines along the railroad tracks. I have seen them flying in numbers of one hundred or more.
These extremely ugly birds with extremely vile habits, have become as big a problem to Marietta residents as geese are on a golf course. They roost in the trees and leave droppings and constantly regurgitate a mess. I’m sure that’s a mess the residents really look forward to stepping in.
Controlling the Turkey Vultures is a real problem. Like the Bald Eagle, the Marietta Eagle is protected. You can’t hunt them, trap them or relocate them. So, what do you do?
A town in New Jersey came up with an idea – that if you hang artificial “dead birds” upside down in the trees, they will avoid the area. It seems they don’t like to nest near dead things. Go figure. I didn’t find any information about how it worked, but some of our residents have decided to try it.
I decided to take a look at these “dead birds” in the trees. Sure enough, if you look in some of the trees along Front Street, you will see the birds hanging upside down from the branches. These appear to me made of plastic or some other man made material. I understand that real dead birds are quite expensive.
I doubt that anyone has seen any results as yet. They started fairly late in the season. Marietta Eagles do migrate south in the winter months. Hopefully, the bird-hangers will see some positive results next summer.
I wish our residents luck in their effort to repel these offensive creatures. If the dead bird decoys they’re using don’t work, they might want to try the rubber chicken. The old comic mainstay might work, and it is probably a lot cheaper.