Onslow County, NC -- A water tower here in Eastern Carolina is trying to get rid of a pesky mess.
The only problem? The birds that are causing the mess are federally protected.
So officials in the city of Jacksonville decided to place dead stuffed vultures around its water tank on Court Street. Vultures are also known as turkey buzzards.
Public Services Director Frank Sanders tells WITN News that as many as 50 to 100 vultures land on the water tank during the cooler weather.
Sanders says not only does the vulture waste damage paint on the tank, but the big birds also fly in the air space for the nearby New River Air Station.
"Once you see them it is somewhat unsightly," said Sanders. "But, their purpose is to avoid a plane crashing or a helicopter crashing."
Through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the city was able to get the four dead vultures placed on the tank.
"The way that works, the birds or the vultures see the dead vultures and they avoid the area," said Sanders. "And since we've hung those, we've had no buzzards on the tank."
Local reaction to the idea has been mixed.
"It's ridiculous to me, honestly," says Wanda Gray who lives next to the water tank. "Actually I make it my business not to see it. It's very disgusting."
So we asked the city about the so-called "yuck factor."
"You weigh that against potentially having a plane crash and loss of life or injury, it's worth what we're doing," says Sanders.