Posh Fla. neighborhood invaded by vultures

Dec. 26, 2004 at 6:32 PM
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Dec. 26 (UPI) -- An upscale St. Petersburg, Fla., neighborhood has been overrun by nearly 200 messy vultures, the St. Petersburg Times reported Sunday.

Some of Walden Lake neighborhood's invaders are red-headed turkey vultures, and others are black vultures. They are common in Florida during the winter. They leave in the mornings and return at dusk, leaving plenty of droppings on the ground and trails below. Residents have repeatedly complained about the smell.

The vultures, refugees from the north, feast on dead animals, garbage and rubber. Residents say vultures have visited the community for years, but not in such numbers.

The Walden Lake Community Association obtained a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year to shoot some of the birds. So once a week, volunteers are allowed to shot into the trees with shotguns.

Association manager Tom Daramus said the goal is to scare the birds away, not to kill them.

Daramus, who gets the angry calls from residents, said he will continue to encourage the vultures to find a new winter home - one far from Walden Lake.

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