Over the last few months, residents of Bridgewater, New Jersey, had begun to notice an eerie influx of vultures settling in trees and on rooftops throughout their community. And as if their looming presence circling overhead wasn't disconcerting enough to folks going about their day, the scavengers were leaving behind more than just a psychological mark -- namely with their copious droppings.
But for as much as locals were fed up with the birds hanging around town, there wasn't much that they alone could do about them; the black and turkey vultures in question are a protected species and cannot be handled or killed without a permit.
So, soon enough, the town enlisted the help of Nicole Rein, a specialist from the United States Department of Agriculture, to see what could be done to keep their community from looking like the setting of a scary movie.
Her answer: vulture effigies.
As it turns out, the birds are disturbed by the sight of dead vultures -- particularly when they're hanging upside down from a tree. With that bit of knowledge, some string, and several vulture carcasses the USDA had collected, Rein set about decorating trees around down with the morbid ornaments.
"They don't like seeing their own in that unnatural position," Rein told N.J. News.
While the technique of warding-off unwanted visitors by displaying the corpses of their kin might seem a tad medieval, Rein insists that the effigies should encourage vultures to look elsewhere to roost without causing them too much discomfort.