March 11, 2017
Two buzzards are boarding a plane when the flight attendant reminds them that they are only allowed one carrion (wait for polite laughter).
Life here at the inn is not all roses and chocolate (mostly, it is). There are occasionally the inconveniences that baffle and befuddle us all. In this one case, it is buzzards. Yes, buzzards.
We live about 50-yards from the rear of the Ker Place property. Ker place is the home to The Historical Society of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. There are tons of events from which we can all learn and enjoy. We will surely blog on our experiences there.
Ker Place owns the property from Market Street all the way back to Kerr Street. Sidebar: no one here pronounces these two words consistently. The plot of land on Kerr is not manicured and simply provides a natural stand of pine trees and a few short walking trails to the back fence of the mansion.
In these trees roosts our problem. Buzzards – and not one or two, more like 20 to 30! These are large birds. These are noisy, destructive, smelly, creepy, and protected birds. Protection of this kind precludes us from making friends with a local hunter and, with the police department’s approval, firing aa shotgun up into the branches.
One night, I walked Freya to this lot – a place I have now named “Poop Lot.” After she finished her business, I leaned down to pick up her gift and, well, it was dark, and pine cones and poop look alike it the dark. I grabbed my phone, clicked on the flashlight, and as it pointed up, all 25 buzzards crashed through the branches to escape the light. Freya got so startled I think she dropped another pine cone! She now walks cautiously to her poop lot, looking up timidly, and doing her business with one eye on the sky.
In additional to terrifying the dog, they are destroying the pretty pergola that Ker Place uses for outdoor events and weddings, they circle overhead making sure that I move an arm every now and then while I read. All this being said, we would like to help them find a more suitable roost. Not an easy assignment!
The county health department put us in touch with the state agency best-suited to handle our question. Sidebar 2: the people at the local health department are so nice, they actually called us back a couple of weeks later to see how we fared. The state agency was also super-helpful, but not, all at the same time. Because Buzzards are protected, we cannot harm them in any way. So here are a few suggestions we gleaned from the state (I like #3):
1. Every night for a week, late at night, make consistent loud and sharp noises – like you might here by firmly clapping two two-by-fours together (one way to meet our new neighbors);
2. Release fireworks up into the trees for several consecutive nights (this option allows us to meet our neighbors, the Onancock Police and Fire departments, I would imagine).
3. Hang an effigy of a large buzzard upside down with its wings spread high up in the tree.
a. When we asked where would could possibly get such a thing, they indicated that they may have a few in their freezer and we should call back to find out.
b. I had visions of my trying to launch a rope over a branch in the dark trying to hang my food bag away from the bears (the bears got the food).
Needless to say, we have done none of those things. We did see the director of the Historical Society talking with someone back in this area of their property. Our hope is that she too is working on a buzzard relocation program.
If you read anything in the Onancock Police Blotter about fireworks, 2×4 claps, or upside down buzzard effigy, read no further, you now the rest of the story.