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Branson Residents Complain about Nesting Vultures

Starlings and pigeons: take heart. You're not the the only birds people are annoyed with. Michele Skalicky reports on an effort to get rid of a rather large bird that's nesting in a neighborhood in Branson.

The City of Branson has received a number of complaints about vultures that are nesting in the 600 block of Sunshine Avenue. Steve Putter, compliance investigator for animal control at the Taney County Health Department, says residents in that neighborhood want the birds gone.

"The turkey vultures and the american black vultures will roost in trees and they'll actually kill the tree because of all the fecal material and everything."

Vultures are state and federally protected so killing them isn't an option. City of Branson and Taney County workers will try to scare them off using pyrotechnic noisemakers among other things.

"We're going to be making a lot of noise. We've hung some decoys up that look like a dead vulture, and they don't particularly like that even though they are a carrion eater."

Putter says, depending on the weather, they'll start trying to scare the vultures off Monday or Tuesday. The MO Dept. of Conservation has approved the methods that will be used.

But folks at the Department's Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery in Branson probably wouldn't mind at all if the vultures ventured there. Leah Eden, naturalist at the hatchery, says vultures play an important role in nature.

'Vultures are unique but very misunderstood members of the animal world. The vultures are a part of nature's cleanup crew. They clean up a lot of the dead carcasses that are lying around on the highways and in the woods, and by doing that they help keep down on disease problems that could start affecting other wildlife and possibly humans."

According to Eden, vultures flock together in large groups at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. There's a roosting site there that can host 3 to 500 black and turkey vultures. You can get an upclose look at the birds February 16th from noon to 6 during "Vulture Venture" at the hatchery.

"We will have presentations with a live vulture from the Wonders of Wildlife Museum out of Springfield. Those will be on the hour, like at 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock, 4 o'clock. We'll have some different activities and games and we will also have spotting scopes set up outside where people can view vultures in the wild."

Eden says people come from far away for a chance to see the black vulture since Southern Missouri is about as far north as the birds come in the US.

For KSMU News, I'm Michele Skalicky.