Where Have All The Buzzards Gone?

I came across this fun little historical nugget a while back while reading through the 1906 Vicksburg Post on microfilm, but I’ve been sitting on it for just the right occasion. Since today is Friday and I’m already mentally on vacation, this is officially just the right occasion.

Buzzards in Dome of New Capitol, Vicksburg Evening Post, Aug 24, 1906, p.2

Jackson, Miss, Aug 23–How to get rid of the flock of buzzards that infests the dome of the new state house without flouting the statute that provides a heavy penalty for killing birds of this species is a problem that is puzzling the members of the capitol commission.

No less than a dozen buzzards have made their happy home in the dome of the capitol building, and may be seen almost any hour of the day circling about the huge golden eagle, or perched on its outstretched wings.

Investigations also show that the birds have adopted the dome as their roosting place at night, and persons who have recently made the ascent to the topmost part of the dome say that it is in anything but a presentable appearance.

The penalty for killing a buzzard in Mississippi is $25 and costs, with a jail sentence if the magistrate cares to add to the punishment. This renders it impossible for the capitol commission to have the birds slaughtered, and it is certain that they are not going to voluntarily surrender their abiding place.

This being Mississippi, here’s how I think it went down. A few good old boys stood out on the New Capitol grounds with their shotguns and picked off the buzzards one by one. A policeman nearby thought he might have heard shots but was looking the other way and decided it wasn’t worth checking into. The dome was cleaned up, the eagle washed down, a few families ate a kind of gamey stew for dinner, and all was well in Jackson.

Categories: Cool Old Places

7 replies

  1. That’s a pretty good guess! You go on vacation more than anyone I know except for my friends in Alaska. :)


    • *sigh* Well, I guess it’s useless to mention that sometimes a MissPres vacation is not necessarily a “real life” vacation.

      I’ll spend some time on the beach next week feeling guilty just for you, Suzassippi :-)


  2. Why were buzzards protected? Are they still endangered?


  3. LOVE the theory for how they were removed. I can see it playing out that way in my head. This was a fun Friday tidbit – thanks for sharing it!


  4. When the brand new MEMA building opened in Pearl a few years back, they had the exact same problem with buzzards and the equally new communications tower. Their solution was usually to shoot bottle rockets at them. I wonder if this is a problem with any new, tall structure that passes in time?


  5. Possibly buzzards have higher standards than we give them credit for? They only occupy buildings less than 5 years old, then move on to the next new thing :-)


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