WJTV News Channel 12 - MYSTERY MONDAY: Turkey Vultures Swarm Vicksburg Cemetery

And neighbors say that for years the swarm has strangely been growing.

MYSTERY MONDAY: Turkey Vultures Swarm Vicksburg Cemetery

Posted: Updated:
Neighbors say as many as 200 turkey vultures swarm Cedar Hill Cemetery  in Vicksburg daily. Neighbors say as many as 200 turkey vultures swarm Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg daily.
Everyday, neighbors say, more than 200 turkey vultures hang out in the trees overlooking the Confederate dead at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg. Everyday, neighbors say, more than 200 turkey vultures hang out in the trees overlooking the Confederate dead at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg.
As the sun rises in the sky, turkey vultures descend into the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg, neighbors said. They've never bothered anyone though. As the sun rises in the sky, turkey vultures descend into the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg, neighbors said. They've never bothered anyone though.
Father Bobby Luke Flanagan is a self-called super volunteer at Vicksburg's Cedar Hill Cemetery. He says he doesn't pay attention to the Turkey Vultures. Father Bobby Luke Flanagan is a self-called super volunteer at Vicksburg's Cedar Hill Cemetery. He says he doesn't pay attention to the Turkey Vultures.
Turkey vultures can have a wingspan of up to six feet. They can weigh up to 5 pounds. About 200 birds fly about Cedar Hill Cemetery everyday, neighbors said. Turkey vultures can have a wingspan of up to six feet. They can weigh up to 5 pounds. About 200 birds fly about Cedar Hill Cemetery everyday, neighbors said.
Shedding feathers alongside graves in Vicksburg, about 200 turkey vultures have made Cedar Hill Cemetery their hang-out.

And neighbors say that for years the swarm has strangely been growing.

Click here to read last weeks MYSTERY MONDAY: Santa's Background and Why Kids Cry
 
"It's a strange phenomenon to see them in a cemetery. I know they hang around the dead but they're supposed to be buried, you know?" Richard Peaches, a neighbor, said.
 
"It seems to be more and more. It's clearly more than it used to be," Eugene Deyamport, another neighbor, said.
 
"I've never know them to bother anything. It might be a little eerie if people aren't use to them - seeing a great big bird," Deyamport said.

"It's a little eerie," Deyamport said.
 
With a six-foot wingspan, sprouting tiny naked head between their shoulders, the turkey vultures (which at times overlook the Confederate dead from the Siege of Vicksburg) have tripled their numbers in the last ten years.

That's according to neighbors of the Cedar Hill Cemetery.
 
Father Bobby Luke Flanagan said he's the go-to volunteer on site. He also said he wishes people would focus on the history in the cemetery as opposed to what soars above it.
 
"Oh, I don't pay no attention to them," Father Flanagan said.
 
"They're everywhere. Usually they stay up on that hillside there. We see them landing way up there," Father Flanagan said.
 
But as the sun rises in the sky the birds typically come to the ground - perching on gravestones - as if acting as ugly angels.
 
But the question is why in a cemetery? And what's attracting them to the area?
 
"[they] Come in and tear these flowers up and eat them. I don't think I know what they're doing. They're destroying good flowers," Father Flanagan said.
 
Cemetery management does not kill the birds. In fact some types of vultures are federally protected.

Instead employees have used loud noises to scare them off but they always return and it greater numbers, neighbors said.
 
"In the evening time you see them come in at 3:30-4 o'clock and they're still circling above. They get worse to me, you know," Peaches said.

Turkey vultures are migratory birds, meaning they are mostly around the area when the trees are bare in the winter.

But NEWS CHANNEL 12 uncovered no confirmed reason why the number of birds is increasing.


Powered by WorldNow

1820 TV Road
Jackson, MS 39204

Telephone: 601.372.6311
Fax: 804.819.5569
Email: wjtvnews@wjtv.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.