According to Graham Fire Chief Dennie Covey, the buzzard population in Graham has grown recently despite consistent efforts by the GFD to humanely relocate the birds.

“Just recently, the group has increased,” Covey said. “We had it down to about 30 to 35 buzzards, but now we’re finding that there’s a group where they all combine together and there’s about 70,”

The fire chief said that the main concentration of buzzards is now roosting in the Crescent, Red Bud Circle and Oak Hills areas. Covey said that the growth of the buzzard population is not what he and his department were expecting, especially with the organized, consistent removal effort put forth by GFD since November.

“We’ve been scaring them,” Covey said. “One time we got there a little bit early. People will call us and tell us where they are, and then we arrive before they’ve roosted.”

A key element to the removal effort involves allowing the birds to become comfortable atop a high perch such as a radio tower or tree. Once the birds are stationary, the fire department shoots a flashing, booming flare in the vicinity of the birds that scares them away. Covey has noticed that the birds are adapting to GFD’s approach.

Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.