Leesburg's vulture problem will get a solution next week, officials said Wednesday, when federal wildlife specialists and town police officers plan to deploy pyrotechnics and lasers to scare the creatures away from areas they're damaging downtown.
Starting Monday, and continuing every day that week, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Program, along with the Leesburg Police Department, will work to remove the vultures from the area of Mayfair Drive NE and Plaza Street NE, which is near the Leesburg Plaza shopping center.
From 4 to 5 p.m. on those days, "officials will use pyrotechnics, lasers, and other dispersal devices that are noise and light makers to move the birds nightly just prior to dark," the town said in a release Wednesday.
Large numbers of vultures have made Leesburg their home before. They're back, about 150 to 200 strong, and have started to roost in the trees surrounding the properties along those roads, north of Leesburg Plaza and Plaza Street Park and south of Robinson Park.
The birds, by nature, will remain in the same areas for "extended periods of time," officials said in a statement. Not only do the creatures cause property damage – picking away at rooftops and rubber seals and defecating on buildings, yards, and vehicles – but they're also a health concern.
Next week's initiative is an effort to move the birds away from the areas where they are causing damage, officials said; all dispersal activity will happen on town property, or private property with permission from the owners.
"Effective dispersal of this roost will benefit residents and vultures in the long term," officials wrote.