Thanks to a mild winter, swarms of turkey vultures have made themselves at home in Shelby, N.C., but town residents are wary of their neighbors.

While the birds normally pass through the city while migrating south for the winter, the vultures have been sticking around this year, swarming lawns and making residents nervous.

"We are just not getting cold enough to push them along," Kristen Duren, an intern with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, the state agriculture service, told ABC's Charlotte, N.C. affiliate WSOC-TV. "What used to be five to 10 birds is going up to 150 birds."


Joan Schmoutz, who has lived in the same home in Shelby since 1963, told that the vultures normally flock in the mornings and the evenings.

"They come and they're there every morning," she said.

"In the morning, they throw out their wings and catch the sun," Schmoutz said. "They're not a nuisance in that way, because I like to watch them. But they do a job on the yard."

Schmoutz said the birds mostly stay in the trees, but estimates that there are "over a hundred [birds] on any given day" in her neighborhood.

Schmoutz said she first started noticing the turkey vultures flocking to the area two years ago.

She said she received a survey in her mailbox about removing the birds from of the neighborhood, but in terms of progress, "we haven't seen anything yet."

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Replies to This Discussion

It would be interesting to see them up close.

Sounds like some people still have the wrong idea about them being dangerous.

I like what one commenter said:  

GP    Thank you all for your generous "thumbs-up" on my original post comparing turkey vultures with Congress. However, in retrospect, it does a disservice to the vultures. At least they perform a useful function.

Yes, Spud Vultures serve a purpose. I've seen them close up - they are very large birds.


While living in Texas at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood; William Beaumont Army Hospital at El Paso; and at Brooke Army Hospital at San Antonio we took camping trips to Big Bend. We cooked over open fires  using heavy cast iron pots. We woke and found turkey vultures sitting all around our camp with their wings spread out catching the morning light and waiting for kettles to cool down enough for them to pull them off the ashes and pull those heavy lids off. They were so ugly/beautiful/messy. Skunks and porcupines joined in the wait and we had a crowd to work through. I think they had some team work going ... stronger animals pulled off lids and others waited to dive in. They were fun to watch the first night and morning of each camping trip, but cleaning up and disinfecting got rapidly tiresome. 

Interesting story Joan - you always have such interesting stories.

Interesting. But the article said "view video" when there was only a still.

I noticed that too Ruth - I kept looking for that video. I wanted to see it.


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