Readings — From the November 2019 issue

Property Buzzards

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From interviews of two residents of the Ibis Golf and Country Club by Palm Beach Post reporter Tony Doris. Doris interviewed the homeowners, Siobhan Casimano and Cheryl Katz, after Casimano wrote the following in an email to the Post: “Our home along with neighbors’ are continually being ravaged by hundreds of vultures, costing thousands of dollars in damage. People need to know what living in Ibis is really like—please shed light on this story.” These accounts, which were quoted in a Post story in August, have been edited for clarity.

siobhan casimano

We live in New York and bought the house in West Palm Beach as a vacation home. Our house sitter told us the house is overrun by vultures. It’s a widespread problem. I heard a lady is buying bags and bags of dog food and leaving them out for the vultures. They know who it is, but she won’t stop. My husband has a timer on a camera, and hundreds have broken through our screen and have taken up residence and vomit everywhere. The smell is like a thousand rotting corpses. The vultures just vomit everywhere. Defecating and vomiting. It’s just gross. We can’t even go back down to the house.

The wildlife has taken over the community. There’s a lot of other animals, but those are easy on the eyes—they’re not vomiting. I’m not talking about a few vultures, I’m talking about hundreds that are swarming the area. The whole neighborhood is trashed. Those vultures are like the size of dogs. They ripped all the screens out, ripped up all the furniture, vomited on the barbecue and in the pool—everywhere. They just all hang out there and do whatever vultures do. The pool fence was installed for my daughter, but they destroyed that. I had to replace that. They’re picking, clawing, and sitting on everything. They’re very heavy. They’re sitting on top of the pool enclosure and it’s collapsing.

I just bought this home for seven hundred thousand dollars and spend a fortune to live in this community—but it is now a danger zone. I have a two-year-old and cannot go outside. The Property Owners Association and Homeowners Association say there is nothing they can do. Residents like ourselves are living in a community that appears nice but is like a real-life Alfred Hitchcock movie.

cheryl katz

I’ve been living here a year and have experienced the vultures since January. I have it worse than anybody, because I live next to, as I call her, the crazy lady who feeds the animals here. She puts out sandwiches for raccoons. I drove in my driveway and saw the cutest raccoon holding a sandwich in both hands, eating it. She puts food in trays. Not just dog food and sandwiches. She’ll buy rotisserie chickens. In 2014, she was cited for feeding the alligators. They had to pull out an adult alligator and took it off-site and shot it. The destroying of the alligator so upset her that she never fed the alligators again.

She leaves out one hundred sixty pounds of dog food, a full four bags, every couple of days or once a week. I watch fifty to one hundred vultures fly in for a feeding. They circle the house. They’re on her roof, my roof, on my trees. At the end of May, I had twenty vultures trapped in my backyard because they had fallen in and couldn’t figure out how to get out. Imagine twenty large vultures trapped, biting each other—the blood. They would bang on my windows to run away from the bird that was attacking them. Blood was everywhere, it was a vile, vicious, traumatic event, and it was Memorial Day, so nobody came out to help me. No company I called. Finally, at six at night, three police officers came. I had to have someone power-wash the pool area twice before I could go out there. My pool guy’s afraid to come here.

You can’t get a permit [to kill the birds]. You can only get a permit to hang a dead one that you’ve found. I’ve tried [fake] owls. The vultures chewed the owls apart. They ripped the heads off. They had moving heads with lights that blink. My neighbor put out a stuffed animal effigy. Somebody put out balloons, pyrotechnics. I roll out of bed at 7 a.m. and they’re already all over my screens or in my pool. Every morning this is my life.

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