By Joe Beck
The bird cannon is gone, and the black vultures have returned to the Jamestown Road and Cavalier Drive neighborhood in Front Royal.
The police department's experiment with using a booming cannon to prod the unwanted birds into finding a different perch came to an end when neighbors complained about the noise.
Chief Norman Shiflett is taking some consolation that fewer vultures are being seen in the neighborhood than a few months ago.
"I don't believe there are as many vultures as there were before we put the cannon in place," Shiflett said.
The vultures arrive dependably every evening around dusk and roost in a stand of pine trees next to a long vacant house. They take to the sky in the morning in search of animal carcasses to feed on and return again in the evening.
Police rolled out the bird cannon a little over a month ago after years of complaints by neighbors upset over vulture droppings as well as the birds' smell and unsightly appearance.
Kelly Walker, a neighborhood resident, said last week she noticed about a dozen vultures back in the trees after the bird cannon disappeared.