August 4, 2021

Heard County officials using propane cannon trying to rid dump of buzzards

(Franklin, GA) — Propane cannon fire is the latest tactic being implemented by Heard County officials in an attempt to disperse a large amount of buzzards that have taken up residence at the Old Field Road garbage convenience center. The Old Field Road center is the largest and most used in the county.

For the last several months, the propane cannon or ‘crow gun’ has been sounding off automated blasts between daylight and dark to try and discourage the scavenger birds from roosting on the dumpsters, where many local residents bring their trash each week.

The sound of propane cannon fire may not thrill those nearby, but the unsanitary mess the birds leave behind doesn’t either, authorities say.

Officials worry that the waste could be a health hazard, and discouraging the birds from setting up shop on the dumpsters has proven difficult, Heard County Commission Chairman Lee Boone says.

Turkey vultures — known more commonly as ‘buzzards’ — are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, making it illegal to destroy the birds, their nests or eggs without a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“These buzzards have become more than just a nuisance — it’s now become a health issue,” says Chairman Boone. “We had upwards of 200 of them over there at one point and were being flooded by complaints about the birds and the waste they would leave behind. We have reached out to the department of natural resources and at this time the propane cannon has been the most helpful to the problem.”

Although the propane cannon has been helpful to the buzzard problem itself, some nearby residents say the noise from the apparatus has become a nuisance to them as well.

Don Evans, one of the closest residents to the center says peace and quiet has been harder to come by for his family lately.

“It’s really just more annoying than anything,” says Evans.”It’a basically a shotgun sound close to my home that goes off every couple of minutes all day long. My wife works a night shift job and it can be really hard for her to get any rest during the daytime hours.”

Another resident who resides about a mile away from the center is not buying that the buzzards are that much of a health hazard.

“Well I live on Stephens Circle and it wakes me up even from that distance,” says Tony Burson. “I know that other situations where buzzards are a problem and a noise ordinances are in place that they can be dealt with. Using the buzzards as a health issue at a trash dump is laughable. The trash is already more of a hazard than the buzzards.”

According to Chairman Boone, Mr. Burson and Mr. Evans are the only two residents that have formally complained about the noise problem from the cannon.

The chairman did have the cannon turned off temporarily this week as he says it had become almost ineffective because of the regular use.

“We would fire it off and the buzzards would move away for a moment and then come right back so we have turned it off for now,” said Boone. “We are trying everything we can to alleviate the problem and we are open to suggestions on better ways to address these buzzard problems. If anyone has any new ideas please let us know.”


  1. Ronni Cantrell says

    I have seen in landfills that they will string up fishing line. Above the working face or in this case the dumpster site about 25 foot above the dumpsters where as not to enter fear with the trucks dumping the cans. Criss cross the string as much as possible and the birds will not fly under it. This method is use a lot on the west coast in California and other are on the large landfill. Hope this helps Ronnie Cantrell City of Lagrange Public works manager.

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