Suwanee battles vultures!

Vulture roosting on a rock.


Vulture roosting on a rock.

The city of Suwannee is having a bird crisis to say the least. Vultures have occupied the tops of houses, businesses, and cell towers throughout the city for decades, but only recently has it become a major issue. Vultures have become such a threat that Shadow Brook Church, located in the heart of Suwanee, had to contact the US Department of Agriculture as well as the Department of Natural Resources, in order to remove the birds from a cell tower on their property. The departments used pyrotechnic devices that released flash bangs, an explosive device that produces flashes of light, smoke, and a ringing noise, to disorient the birds and hopefully prevent them from roosting on the tower in the future.

A vulture is a predominantly common bird that can be recognized by its large body and its tendency to prey on the decaying flesh of dead animals. With this being said, they usually house foul smells and dangerous diseases. Their feces and vomit can cause serious damage to infrastructure by decreasing the curb appeal and function of structures. If they are found on electrical lines or cell towers, their damage can become expensive for the city to maintain, and more importantly, cause power outages or communication errors.

Cliff Stroud, a telecommunications technician, provided us with insight on his own experiences with these disgusting birds. “They [vultures] are a nuisance to tower technicians and the components of the tower due to their feces and other secretions,” he explains, “they are a biohazard to the environment. They make the soil acidic, carry carcases, and truly make the grounds surrounding the tower a grave site that is hard to maneuver.”

When asked how the birds increase the dangers of his job, he said, “In the process of ascending a tower, we have to be extremely careful because the vulture’s feces can flake off and get into our lungs or skin and cause ailments.” Stroud continued, “When in moist or humid conditions, the birds’ bodily fluids make the tower slippery and can cause my crew to lose their grip while climbing.”

“Their habits and ways of survival jeopardize the technology on the tower, and can ultimately lead to failure or the termination of the cell signal to surrounding areas. They make my job more expensive and more dangerous,” he concluded.

We think that vultures have no effect on us, but their destruction of local infrastructure could impact our school day tremendously. For example, we could experience a power outage or a lack of phone coverage here at the school and/or on our commute to school. There are so many possibilities as to how a flock of these birds could negatively affect our community here at Lanier High School.

The vultures in Suwannee are proving to be a menace to the city’s budget and the safety of their maintenance providers and citizens. They are causing more problems than they are solving by damaging the economic, social, and structural reputation of Suwannee. The US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources involvement in this situation will not be the only time that Suwannee sees this.

GDPR Support. (2022, January 17). The Atlanta Journal- Constitution.
Stroud, Cliff. Interview. By Cigi Stroud. 10 February 2022