Federally-protected buzzards return to Franklin County town – and no one can get them to leave


BUNN, N.C. (WNCN) — They’re back! A small town in Franklin County is dealing with a federally protected pest: buzzards.

One homeowner – Ally Leggett – said she counted 58 of them in her backyard alone.

It’s not just homeowners and business owners impacted by the buzzards, at the high school there was concern the buzzards were damaging the roof of the gym.

Officials took measures last year that seemed to work.

“People are like, ‘you’re the lady with all the birds on your house.’ I’m like, ‘yeah, that’s me’,” Leggett said.

Leggett has lived in this Main Street home for three years. She said the buzzards have always been there.

But last year was especially bad. She had to have a chimney removed.

“The birds were sitting on it, knocking bricks off. Thankfully we wouldn’t park our cars over there or else that would have caused damage,” she said.

Wildlife officials said their droppings are acidic and can eat through paint.

Leggett said she went to the town and county about the problem.

Back in December, Bunn hung effigies around the roof of the high school. They also started firing a propane cannon.

“They would shoot off like three at a time — it’d be all during the day like 10 in the morning, 12 at night. Just kinda all day long,” Leggett said.

It seemed to work. Then about two weeks ago the buzzards came back.

“You can’t shoot them — you can’t do anything to them otherwise,” Terry Dodson said.

Dodson reminded CBS 17 that the birds are protected by state and federal laws.

While their steady diet of dead animals is sure to creep people out, wildlife officials point out they do help keep roads and fields clear.

“I guess it’s good we’re getting the attention so maybe somebody can help, or wildlife can see that we’re trying because these birds are federally protected,” Leggett said.

It’s still unclear why the birds have made Bunn their home. Leggett said she plans to reach out to town and county officials again.

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