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Vulture issue in Autumnwood Square

Discussion in 'Broadlands Community Issues' started by Tom Grant, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. Tom Grant

    Tom Grant New Member

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    This lengthy note and request is for our Autumnwood Square neighbors and any other neighbors affected by the large vultures roosting in the common areas behind our homes. As I did in 2010, since the birds are federally protected, I contacted the USDA last week in order to have them come to our neighborhood to assess the situation and recommend the action needed to remove the vultures from our neighborhood. Late yesterday Sarah our GM and Cliff from our HOA were nice enough to join me to meet the two USDA people that came out to our neighborhood to assess the issue. The USDA folks talked with the three of us about the birds and then verified that the vultures (about 100 birds which is at least double the number of birds that were here in 2010) are living/roosting in the common area trees. They said that the dead vulture effigy approach taken in 2010 will not work now because the birds are living in the common area trees. Consequently, they recommended a much different approach/solution that they said could take up to ten days and cost up to $5,000.

    Last night I also attended our HOA's Board meeting to discuss this issue with the Board. Many thanks again to Sarah for coming to the neighborhood with Cliff and for adding the issue as an agenda item. I explained to the Board that I think that the HOA should contribute to the cost because it's primarily a common area issue since the birds are roosting in the common area trees behind our homes. I also explained that the issue of the birds living in the common area trees is leading to other issues caused by the birds such as the damage they are doing to our roofs with their claws and feces as they sit up there. Another possible issue that I learned from the USDA that I explained is that the birds will start damaging cars by eating away at the windshield wipers and other exposed rubber parts. Another possible issue that I learned from the USDA that I explained to the Board is that the birds will regurgitate stuff from the dead animals they've eaten and drop that stuff in our square as they move around. This was verified to me verbally by a neighbor who said that he's seen this stuff (hair balls) dropped on his deck by the birds. This as I explained to the Board is I think a health hazard to our neighborhood given the fact that any of the kids in our neighborhood could come into contact with these regurgitated droppings that have already been seen.

    My main point to the Board was that the birds are a common area issue that are leading to property damage in our neighborhood, are a health hazard due to their regurgitated droppings and all of this could lead to a liability issue for the HOA if they take no action at all. As a result of these things I told the Board that I think it's very reasonable to expect the Board to pay for some if not all of the cost associated with resolving this common area issue. The Board as always was very nice and thoughtful but unfortunately they disagreed with me. The Board compared the situation to a deer coming out of the woods and eating our plants for which we'd just put up a barrier and to geese around here that leave their droppings in the grass. I don't think it's the same at all given that the deer and geese are not damaging our homes and flying over our homes every day. Unfortunately the Board did not agree and said that our HOA is not responsible for taking any action at all in regard to this issue. They simply suggested that I contact everyone in Autumnwood Square to see how much each house is willing to contribute to the possible $5,000 cost.

    So, with all of this in mind, if you live in/near Autumnwood Square please reply to this to let me know your thoughts and if you are willing to contribute to the cost of having the USDA come out to try to remediate the issue.

    Thank you in advance,

    Tom
     
  2. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    So... the HOA will spend money to address a dead tree that would damage personal property... but won't spend money to address this common area problem that would damage personal property. What if it were a coyote living in the common area that was attacking small animals?

    Sounds more like passing the buck to me.
     
  3. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Tom, what measure did you eventually take? I've been monitoring the roosts and as of late last night and this morning, there are no vultures in any of the trees. Today is garbage day which is usually when they are present in good numbers.
     
  4. JTC

    JTC New Member

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    There are TONS of birds in the woods between Autumnwood, Harvest Green, and Huntsman. They show up ever evening at dusk, landing in the trees to sleep, then tear apart our roofs in the mornings as they try to warm up. They are definitely doing damage with their claws, it wakes my wife and I up with how much noise is made as they hop about the roof.

    Tom, what is the USDA going to do for $5000? Did they make any suggestions we can try out first?
     
  5. hornerjo

    hornerjo Senior Member

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    Just for reference, here is the thread for the first time we got rid of them on Autumnwood. I hope you all figure something out.
     
  6. dbrow

    dbrow Member

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    There are a few vultures on Hunters Green and Falling Rock this morning...so now we’re up to five streets affected. How big does the problem have to get before the HOA will contribute?
     
  7. JLC

    JLC Member

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    There are some townhouses that back to Demott, just past the Harris Teeter, that seem to be having a problem with vultures as well. The roofs are covered in what looks like giant bird droppings.
     
  8. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Well-Known Member

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    You can always blame Van Metre for building in a Nature preserve- lol Actually, it’s not going to be easy to get the HOA to pay for it since it’s not in HOA documents and they have no control over any animal that comes to the residential areas.

    If people do NOT put out bags and use BINS instead, I would think less of them will come around over time. Some residents don’t care and will still use the trash bags and not the bins. Maybe HOA can enforce the no trash bags in townhouse communities unless it’s inside the bins with LIDs CLOSED. FULLY!!!!!
     
  9. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, it's the same people who refuse to use the bins unless they're throwing away something they want to hide, such a grass clippings and leaves - who knows what else. And when they use their bin, it sits on the curb for weeks. No win situation.

    And the consensus is that the garbage bags have little to do with attracting the vultures but more to do with habitat loss.
     
  10. Sunstoner

    Sunstoner Southern Walk||IMPERIUM IN IMPERIO||Not OB||

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    The BHOA Board may seem like they are being stingy and want to pass the buck, but there has to be way more to the story with the vultures-- and I think they made the right call. Several years ago, several neighbors (to include Board members) banded together to deal with problem at the time and paid $$ out of their own personal funds.

    The vultures...Are they invasive? Are they merely performing their work on nature's food chain? Can the USDA answer any of those questions, the naturalist or someone else?

    I think there are a couple things that are making the problem worse and while there seems to be a really isolated problem on Autumnwood, we see them here just a mile or so south of you as well all the time.

    As I drive around Loudoun County, particularly in this area, it is striking that there is so much change. While within several square miles of us natural habitat is disappearing at a very dramatic rate (data centers, new neighborhoods, Metro construction). The fact that remains is that Broadlands is a matured, beautiful nature preserve (right in the middle of disappearing natural habitat), which unfortunately means that we are a giant magnet for them and their natural food sources.

    This is more than an Autumnwood Square problem, more than a Broadlands problem, and more likely a County problem. Supervisor Ron Meyer was here a couple weeks ago and only three or four residents showed up. Of course this didn't come up, but I bet he needs to know. He seemed genuinely concerned about issues in the Broad Run District, which this is.

    Now, what can we do about this problem for now-- I expect we explore the theory that unsecured trash bins and blowing garbage are a major cause, which is entirely plausible. The Board should look at sending out a letter to every owner informing them that there is an issue in Broadlands, and there is a connection between open bins, blowing garbage, and after observing the effects of making an effort to address the blowing and unsecured garbage link- presuming that has no effect-- is to issue a special assessment of $50 per home to deal with problem sooner rather than later. Maybe afterward we can appeal to the County for help and get that $ credited back to us in some other way, but whatever.

    A small graphic is attached showing where we are with a 5 mile radius. I wonder how much natural habitat has been removed within this range? 5milecir.JPG
     
  11. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    That isn't an issue in our area... and they've been here before.

    And today... for the first time in a long time... they were back in force. Luckily they scared off easily today.
     
  12. hewitt99

    hewitt99 New Member

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    When the USDA came years ago to hang the vulture, was there any cost with that?

    Have there been other situations where the board has given money to help with similar situations in our community?

    Seems like it would benefit the HOA to contribute to having this situation cleaned up. Right now we have 50+\- homes littered with bird poop on their roofs—not exactly a site that people want to see.

    Just to make it clear, this is not a “garbage day” issue. The birds on not here because people have left garabage out.

    Tom if you have anymore information, or ways to help, please let us know.
     
  13. shim

    shim shim

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    Never paid much attention to this issue but took a gander at the rooftops over there and geez it really could not be more disgusting. Has anyone looked at the fine for making an example out of one of them? If it's less than $5K and quicker than 10 days i would recommend a crossbow and leave the pierced carcus there a day or two for the others to ponder.
     
  14. Everett

    Everett Temporary Earthling

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    Two great ideas:

    #1 Lets shoot a crossbow up in the air in a residential neighborhood...

    #2 Lets leave a dead bird carcass out to deter scavenger birds, whose sole mission in life is to feast on carcasses...

    You're not the same guy with little hands who talks about how big his "nuclear button" is, are you?
     
  15. shim

    shim shim

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    Everett, you should have stopped after two great ideas.
     
    PDILLM and T8erman like this.
  16. JTC

    JTC New Member

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    @shim - the vultures are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Act - so I assume a felony for killing them without a permit.
    https://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/pdf/policies-and-regulations/MBTAListofBirdsFinalRule.pdf

    I read on a fish and game website that we're allowed to pester them as long as they are not nesting (different than roosting - which is what they are doing in our neighborhood). Loud noises work well (neighbors may not like) and moving laser pointer seems to work well too (just don't point at passing planes).

    My roof continues to collect bird sh!t and now the birds are fighting amongst each other - resulting in them crashing into my roof.
     
  17. latka

    latka Active Member

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    Put a big scarecrow on the roof.
     
    JTC likes this.
  18. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Their numbers wax and wane, particularly during nesting season / late Spring. They do not nest in trees rather lay their eggs in crevices, caves, hollows - usually 1-2 eggs which could explain fewer numbers at times.
     

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