Landfill Cries Fowl, Hires U.S. to Remove Birds
– September 19, 2013 2:17 pm
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Birds, namely their droppings, have become a nuisance at the Prince William County Landfill.
It’s so much of a problem that the county has called in the big guns — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Division — to reduce the number of nuisance birds at the 500-acre landfill.
The birds are mainly seagulls and vultures that feed on the waste, and, they’re dirty.
“Sometimes when citizens come to use the landfill they poop on them,” said Thomas Smith, with the Prince William landfill.
And it’s not just people — buildings, cars, even a nearby sports field dubbed the “boneyard” where the birds leave behind carcases of what they don’t eat have all become overrun by fowl.
This summer, county officials approved a $95,752 plan to rid the landfill of nuisance birds. The newly hired bird shoo-er will be issued a shotgun, ammunition, and more than $3,000 in pyrotechnic equipment not with the intention of killing them, but to scare them away.
Some birds, admittedly, will be killed as the program moves forward, said Smith. Fishing line will also be strung around several buildings at the landfill as a bird deterrent, he added.
But once they’re scared, where should they go?
“Go to another landfill, or go back to the beach — that’s a good idea,” quipped Smith.
The bird problem at the landfill gets worse during the winter months. When food dries up and the weather turns colder, the vultures will eat rubber, said Smith.
About 500 acres of the landfill are in use now. There are 1,000 total acres of space to fill before the landfill is considered full, and that’s not expected until 2060.
The landfill processes 900 tons of waste per day.