Plan to shoot red-headed vultures at Westchase upsets many locals

WESTCHASE, Fla. (WFLA) — The plan to get rid of red-headed vultures in the Northwest Hillsborough County neighborhood of Westchase seems to be ruffling a lot of feathers, not those intended.

The Westchase Community Development District has a contract with the USDA to scare away birds. If the birds aren’t frightened, the plan is to shoot them.

CG Barrett of World of Westchase magazine posted the following message on Facebook:

“I learned at the WCA Board of Directors meeting last night that the USDA Red-Headed Vulture Elimination Campaign, under a USDA contract signed by Westchase CDD at the request of the WCA, will begin on Monday, March 14. If you live in The Bridges, especially Stonebridge and Sturbridge, you will hear the work. USDA officials said that at dawn and dusk they will use pyrotechnics (fireworks) on the small island in the lake bordered by Sturbridge and Stonebridge to disrupt the birds’ roosting site. Vultures that are not startled will be shot. Many locals are likely to hear fireworks and gunshots from Monday; the work, according to the USDA representative, could take up to two weeks. I’m just posting this so no one hears the commotion and worry as Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch roll off the mail train in West Park Village.

Steve Netta lives near the pond that is home to the island the vultures call home. He’s all for scaring them off, but isn’t convinced that shooting them if they don’t leave is the right thing to do.

“The weaponry, just behind the residences?” Netta asked. “One person was like, what kids are going to get shot? I’m like, I don’t know, why don’t I put your kids in the garden while they’re doing it and see if you care. “

Cameron Correa also thinks the Vultures should go, but has reservations.

“I’m an animal lover, so I don’t want them hurting the vultures,” Correa said. “But I can’t let a herd of vultures destroy my roof either.”

Kat Wysocki does not live in Westchase but has friends who do. She runs the organization Pet Skunk Advocates & Rescue and is outraged by the plan.

“Of course, I am upset. It’s pointless, it’s violent,” Wysocki said. “Of course, we’re going to do what we can to make sure that doesn’t happen. “

Sharon P. Juarez