News & Politics

Vultures Are Overrunning a Neighborhood in Ashburn

With help from the USDA, the Broadlands neighborhood will start combatting the vulture invasion.

The Broadlands, a neighborhood of Ashburn, Virginia, is currently dealing with an unusual bird problem. Black and turkey vultures are invading the residential neighborhood—causing property damage and defecating on everything from playground equipment to cars.

In a notice issued to residents, the Broadlands Association said it, along with the local public school district, is contracting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fix the problem. The USDA will start the process of deterring the vultures through the use of pyrotechnics and other noise- and light-heavy devices on March 1. The association expects the deterrence process to last a week, but it may be extended if the vulture invasion continues.

In addition to the pyrotechnics, the USDA will use vulture effigies to disperse the birds. “Vultures respond very well to the presence of effigies, which are actual or artificial vulture images, hung upside down from trees or towers,” the association said in the notice.

For residents of the Ashburn community, this is not a new problem. In 2014, the Loudoun Wildlife Conservatory identified Loudoun County as one of the country’s “hot spots” for vultures, an honor it shares with Hinckley, Ohio and Kern River Valley, California.

Even if residents are fed-up with the presence of the birds, the Broadlands Association advises them not to confront the vultures themselves. “Vulture/human conflicts are not a recent occurrence and prior attempts by residents to disperse vultures have not been successful,” the association said in its notice.