Buzzards bombard Sandersville water tower; city strikes back

jkovac@macon.comFebruary 24, 2013 

The dead buzzards wouldn’t fly.

Which was perfect.

All the city of Sandersville needed them to do was hang around and look like carcasses.

Hope was that the things, strung up atop the town water tower, would spook the live vultures that keep pooping on the cellphone antennas there.

Trouble is, it’s illegal to kill buzzards. They’re considered migratory birds, federally protected.

Even so, dead, hanging buzzards can, according to experts, effectively shoo their still-flapping kin.

Robert Eubanks, Sandersville’s public works director, recently heard about buzzard effigies.

The Department of Agriculture sells them -- plastic heads and bodies with real wing and tail feathers -- for $125.

Eubanks was hoping to buy a couple.

“But we could only get one,” he said the other day. “There’s a big demand.”

Talk of the tower-fouling buzzards and the proposed trick to make the vultures vamoose arose at a City Council meeting this month.

The city attorney balked at the cost of the $125 decoys.

“Well, they’re market price,” Eubanks was quoted as telling him in an article in the Sandersville Progress.

Before the effigy arrived, a helpful local dropped by the public works office looking to save his city some money.

He arrived toting a sack with a dead buzzard inside. He said he found it somewhere.

“We took the buzzard,” Eubanks said. “We didn’t want to insult the man or anything.”

The thing smelled like road rot, but as Eubanks recalled, it “wasn’t quite knockout status yet.”

Still, he threw it out.

When the fake buzzard was shipped to City Hall and Eubanks opened the box, the city clerk freaked. She thought it was embalmed.

“I took it out of the box and chased her around,” Eubanks said.

Other folks have since had their pictures taken with the critter.

Eubanks figures the bogus buzzard will be on duty at the tower along Kaolin Road any day now.

Just as soon as someone from the phone company comes and mounts it in the Sandersville skyline.

“I’m not climbing up there,” Eubanks said. “I’m 300 pounds. A stepladder’s kind of rickety for me.”

As for the buzzards, he said, “Hopefully, they’ll fly south.”

To contact reporter Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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