SHELBY, N.C. - Neighbors told Eyewitness News they have seen hundreds of vultures swarming along Peach Street in Shelby.
A Channel 9 reporter saw dozens hovering over homes, scaring pets and making people nervous.
"Just circling in like big, big packs and they are like big, big birds," said neighbor Jordan Walker.
"It makes me feel kind of creepy," said neighbor Ann McEntire.
McEntire said she saw so many perched on her neighbor's home "they completely covered it."
The birds normally pass through while migrating south for the winter, but an intern who has been studying the birds for the state agriculture service said the vultures stopped here because of the mild winter.
"We are just not getting cold enough to push them along," said Kristen Duren with the Cooperative Extension. "What used to be five to 10 birds is going up to 150 birds."
And they'll start breeding.
"Oh my goodness. I am not happy to hear that," McEntire said.
Turkey vultures will not attack children or small animals, but they will go after pet food and trash and they can wreck the value of property.
"If I were to try to sell this house, no one would even look at it," McEntire said.
Their droppings can discolor homes and cars and they can rip out shingles.
State agriculture agents say the birds have come to this neighborhood because of the dead trees, which the birds prefer. Getting rid of the old trees could be the first step in getting rid of the birds.
"I just wish there were some way to tell them to leave," McEntire said.
State law forbids shooting them, but there is another way: a scarecrow made to look like a dead bird could chase the vultures away.
"It kind of sends a message to the birds that these are not nice people," Duren said.
Until they get the message, more vultures are likely to come.