Turkey Vultures Continue to Damage Trees in Enterprise
Enterprise, Utah – Turkey Vultures have grown in numbers in Enterprise over the years and are continuing to damage trees in the center of town. Enterprise City Mayor Lee Bracken is determined to take care of this problem, but needs to get Federal approval.
Mayor Bracken invited Keith Day from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to the City Council meeting yesterday to help the community get rid of these nuisance birds. Mayor Bracken asked Keith Day “what can we do to take care of this problem?”
Day said “These birds are protected by Federal Law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)”. This act started in 1918 and was put in place to protect birds from people. It is a treaty signed with Canada (than part of the Great Britain), Mexico and other countries in response to the extinction or near-extinction of a number of bird species that were hunted either for sport or for their feathers. In May 2015 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced they would be strengthening this act to better protect birds from modern-day threats (cell phone towers, telephone lines, windmills, etc.).
Day suggests getting rid of the birds in non lethal methods. Not only does this only get rid of the birds you kill, it doesn’t do a single thing to stop the new birds. Ideas of getting rid of these vultures are lasers, sounds, sprinklers, effigies, electric tracks, or nets.
Adam Bowler, Enterprise City Manager shared his frustrations from failed attempts to remove the birds over the last number of years with the use of the City Fire truck hose, 12 Gauge Scare Cartridges, and lasers with little success.
In order to move the nests, capture birds or kill birds is illegal with stiff penalties. What is the fine of taking care of the problem yourself? While the law is not often enforced, penalties are severe with up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $15,000. (Equipment used to pursue, hunt or trap can also be seized.) The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is responsible for administering this Act. (Note: The DWR is state and USFWS is Federal)
Day said these vultures should be gone in a month for the winter, but as locals know they continue to come back year after year. Mayor Bracken said “We need a long term effort to keep them away”. These birds will continue to kill the trees that were planted by generations before and the buildings nearby may receive damage from these birds also.
Mayor Bracken will be working with the city council and city staff to come up with solutions for the Turkey Vultures while seeking for Federal approval.