‘This is the worst year’: Black vultures harassing Pa. homes, causing major damage

MARIETTA, Pa. (AP) — Flocks of black vultures are roosting on roofs and in trees in one Pennsylvania town, causing damage to homes and property and generally harassing residents.

The birds, which can have wingspans up to 5 feet (1.5 meters), are protected under federal laws, LNP reported on Thursday.

Especially in the fall and winter, they roost together and prefer warm areas like dark roofs. The birds peck at the rubber on the roofs and target plastic things like porch furniture and garbage cans for destruction, the newspaper reported.

A homeowner in Marietta, which is located on the Susquehanna River outside of Lancaster, told the newspaper that he’s paid thousands of dollars to repair damage to his roof.

“This is the worst year,” John Enterline said. “There are many more of them.”

The best way to get rid of the birds is to harass them back, said Harris Glass, the Pennsylvania director with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services department.

For example, the newspaper reported, residents are banging on pots and pans and lighting fireworks to disrupt the birds.

Hanging effigies, as in taxidermied birds, also deters the vultures, but they are expensive and residents must get permission to display them, the newspaper reported.

Complaints about the birds, who in photos appear menacing as they perch on eaves and line tree branches, have been ongoing for at least a decade.

Officials told the newspaper that they have historically declined to use public resources to protect private property from damage caused by the birds. But one councilperson, Bill Dalzell, said he thinks the borough does have a responsibility to look at potential actions to help residents in the neighborhoods where birds are gathering.