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City takes measures to remove turkey vultures

A handful of turkey vulture carcasses hang in two trees above the Raccoon Valley Bank in Adel. Over 40 vultures have been roosting above the bank and in a City tree for the past two years.Buy Photo
A handful of turkey vulture carcasses hang in two trees above the Raccoon Valley Bank in Adel. Over 40 vultures have been roosting above the bank and in a City tree for the past two years.

Much to the frustration and chagrin of the Raccoon Valley Bank branch and City officials in Adel, Iowa, for the past two years over 40 turkey vultures have been roosting in two trees right outside the bank, one of which is a City tree. Numerous methods were explored to encourage the birds to move in hopes of eliminating the acidic and potentially harmful bodily waste being deposited onto the sidewalk outside the front entrance to the bank.

After much research, City and Bank officials identified the only method for permanently removing the birds is to obtain a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to kill several and hang the carcasses upside down at the place of roosting. At its April Council meeting, the City Council voted to take that action as a last resort in an effort to eliminate the potentially harmful bodily waste from the vultures and allow for children and pedestrians to enjoy safe passage through a busy pedestrian way adjacent to the bank, driver’s license facility, shopping and a community pavilion. Kip Overton, Director of Public Works, stated, “The method employed is not ideal, but the only one known to work.”

Within days of submitting a permit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the permit was approved, and a trained official employed by the State of Iowa Department of Natural Resources safely and humanely killed the birds and oversaw the process of hanging the carcasses upside down in the tree. It is the hope of all involved that this process is successful in moving the birds to a more rural, natural setting. Although there have been instances in other communities of the method taking eight days or greater to move the birds, the method was employed Friday, May 2 with no instances of vultures roosting in the trees. Bank and City officials are looking forward to the day when they can completely and permanently remove all the bodily waste deposited by the vultures on the sidewalk just outside the bank facility.

The City of Adel and Raccoon Valley Bank value all life and the role the turkey vultures play in the natural food chain, and therefore the Council thoroughly deliberated before arriving at the conclusion of utilizing the only tried and true method of permanently moving the vultures from their roosting area.

Questions may be directed to the office of the City Clerk, City Hall, 301 South 10th Street, Adel, IA 50003 (515) 993-4525.

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