Now don’t get me wrong, I love nature and most of God’s creatures. Buzzards, or Turkey Vultures, may be my new least favorite critter. Especially at the Susquehanna State Park below Conowingo Dam. This location is a wonderful access for the public to boat, hike, fish, and watch the birds, eagles, and I guess the filthy Buzzards!
I took a couple of young fishermen out for a fishing adventure. Years ago, I had done the same trip many times. The trip required a 1 ½ mile walk to an area along the Susquehanna River known as the “Fish Traps”. The local Indian tribes had moved rocks to direct fish into their fish weirs. The evidence remains, and the fishing is still great. How cool is fishing for striped bass in fresh water around ancient fish traps!
When we arrived, it was dark, and we hiked down the trail. I had parked in a marked, paved parking spot. Fishing was fun and everyone caught stripers, white perch and smallmouth bass. I saw an old fisherman upstream and started up a conversation. Like me, many years ago, he rode a bike to the spot but came up river, not down. The distance was twice as far. He said that a few weeks earlier, he had parked where we parked, and that the buzzards ate his windshield wipers, plastic trim and trashed his truck!
Oh well. We were committed. The river rises when the dam runs water to make electricity. At 10 AM we hiked back to my shiny, new, beautiful truck. I was curious to see if the “Old Timer” was correct.
When I first saw my once beautiful truck, there were dozens of buzzards hanging on my ladder rack, roof, and hood. Wings were spread and flapping. It looked like they were trying to fly away with my F-150. When they couldn’t lift it, they did their worst. Feathers, crap, vomit, and filth were everywhere. We flushed the flock away and I noticed that the trim around my windshield had been eaten. Their little beaks meticulously nipped it away! In a few short hours, they had wasted my truck!
Across the parking lot were two more buzzards sitting along a fence next to a sign that said, “Buzzards may damage your vehicle”. Talk about too little too late! The State Park covered their liability but has done nothing more. I am sure that I am not the only victim of a Buzzard Blitz! How much fiscal damage has been done? How many people, pets, and children have been sickened? How many people now avoid this wonderful public park because of Buzzards?
If these road kill eating birds are such a problem, at least put up several signs, and maybe some bigger signs. The parking lot is paved, mowed, lined, and managed for public access, not Buzzard Blitzes! Did any of the State Park Staff witness the event as they patrolled the park? This parking area is at the main gate to the park. Does the State feel that their small sign is enough to address the problem? How can boaters leave their rigs near the boat ramp safely?
More warning and solutions are needed. Not only is there a vandalism issue, there is also a huge health issue. Perhaps a little population management or control are needed. I will be glad to help!
For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.